Fireworks flourished and subsequent cheers resounded across the entire kingdom. The full moon was nigh and with its cold rays beaming down from the heavens, the festival seemed to be increasingly energised with each passing moment. It was All Hallow's Eve. The most hallowed occasion on which the spirits and apparitions emerge from the ethereal to what is real. In this night, the kingdom consoles the loss of its Prince; in this night, ecstatic citizens gather and bond with one another; and in this sacred night... Tor'Shah (TheBlueWizard OC) removes himself from the pomp and circumstance and embarks on his personal quest of identifying (and capturing if possible) the so-called "dark entities" roaming the forests. This was a unique and intriguing opportunity for him, as the paranormal realm was a popular subject of intensive, ongoing research.
With a glowing orb AI that hovered next to him, he felt peculiarly safe. MUM (Mechatronic Utility Module) was her name. Judging from its acronym, it was strangely appropriate for him to personify his AI companion with a gender.
TheBlueWizard: MUM, you are flashing again.. Like Tinkerbell on LSD. You might wanna stop that, and continue mapping the area like the good cartographer you are.
MUM: The individual next to this one appears to have forgotten that my so-called "flashing" demeanour is a directive that activates upon the need to attract his attention.
TheBlueWizard: Yes... I don't recall programming the sarcasm directive in you either.
MUM: But you did initially program me with the enhanced ability to acquire new, useful information, as well as the capacity to adapt to alterations in my surroundings.
MUM: *Flash Flash Twinkle* "BEEP!"
TheBlueWizard: Yeah, so what's the big news?
MUM: I am detecting subatomic instability around our current position.
TheBlueWizard: Yeah.. well, this is a new realm for both of us. If you are comparing the chemical and physical constants of our universe to those of this one, you need to update your settings. OH, yeah! You did mention a while ago that you are able to adapt to new circumstances. Now would be the time to test it out.
MUM: I will elaborate. I am detecting unusually high levels of Dantus neutrino around our present location.
TheBlueWizard: Eh, right.... you got my attention... So, uh... how big is the area of anomaly?
MUM: Throughout but limited to this biome.
TheBlueWizard: Amazing! We are on the right track!
MUM: So, next time when I flash, it would be worthwhile for you to--
TheBlueWizard: --Run the diagnostics again!
MUM: Still reading elevated Dantus neutrino levels.
TheBlueWizard: Stupendous! Oh, by the way MUM, have you acquired any useful information, rumours or lore about the dark entities? Specifically, the "Headless Horseman" and the "Tragic Twins"?
MUM: I have acquired pieces of information and collated them together. The "Headless Horseman" is a recurring subject that is brought up by the Onendarians around time of All Hallow's Evening. However, records concerning "Tragic Twins" do not date before the All Hallow's Evening last year.
--------Retrieving relevant data--------
These forests are known to be once occupied by an ancient civilisation that followed a monarchial system of government. Historical archives show that a duke (eldest nephew of the king), who was third in line of succession to the throne, initiated a guerilla to kill both his uncle the king and the prince in order to claim the throne as his own. The scheme was unsuccessful and the king managed neutralise the traitors and restore peace to the kingdom; the peace that was earned at great cost: the death of the queen. Overwhelmed with grief, the king "entered into deep sleep" (I interpret the historian's meaning as a comatose state induced by a stroke). Enraged, the prince sought out his cousin the duke down in the dungeons, dragged him out and subsequently decapitated him with a blunt hoe.
MUM: The misshapen head was fed to the rats while the duke's body was left to rot in these forests "at the mercy of time, weather and wilderness".
TheBlueWizard: And so I guess "he still roams these forests to find his head" blah blah.. yeah?
MUM: I would have re-iterated the conclusion with better terminology.
TheBlueWizard: What about the "Tragic Twins"? Are they from the same era?
MUM: Negative; the "Tragic Twins" are presumed to be named after Annabelle and Amora Amundsen, both born on the 3rd day of Harvestmonth in the 470th Onendarian year. The twins were born in a middle, working-class family. Unfortunately, due to congenital albinism, the twins were born with very white skin and red eyes. Due to their uncanny appearance, they were segregated by some people, and branded as witches and ill omen. Naturally, the twins had no one to look after them, other than their parents and each other. On their birthday last year, the twins have reportedly informed their parents that they were going to explore the forests. This was of no concern to their parents, as the twins left the house often to play and were back before dinner time.
TheBlueWizard: I'm guessing they didn't return this time.
MUM: Precisely. The twins were never seen or heard again in the Kingdom's precincts. However, recent recounts by travelling merchants and citizens speak of witnessing twin girls with very pale skin and red eyes seen holding each other's hands and attempting to communicate with the passersby. One recount even suggests that the girls were beckoning to play with them. Due to their appearance, the "Tragic Twins" are also referred to as the "Pale Pair".
TheBlueWizard: The "Pale Pair" huh... the girls are still being commented on their appearance even after death?
MUM: It is unconfirmed whether the girls are deceased or not. They are simply documented as "missing".
TheBlueWizard: With the current readings of Dantus neutrino levels in these forests, I am a little inclined not to dismiss these stories as simply myths.
MUM: *flashing* Tor'Shah, I initially noted couple of locations of concentrated Dantus neutrino activity, however as of now, the subatomic instability appears to be......well.... stabilising.
TheBlueWizard: After 3 hours of searching and trekking, you're telling me the operation's called off?
MUM: As far as the current readings and measurements suggest, it is computationally improbable to detect areas of paranormal activity. Good visual alertness is the only alternative.
TheBlueWizard: You know what, we should continue tomorrow evening. I can hardly feel my legs and I am deprived of alcohol. I hope the spirits are kind to us tomorrow.
MUM: To their potential scrutinisers and captors?
TheBlueWizard: Whatever, MUM. I'm getting hungry too. Being an AI, you wouldn't understand that now would you? Speaking of which, those strawberries look really fresh.
TheBlueWizard: MUM, you cannot possibly be more visually impaired than I am. The 4 strawberries neatly arranged in a line over there!
MUM: Tor'Shah, you are right in the fact that my visual perception is superior to yours, but those--
TheBlueWizard: --Seeing how they are so neatly arranged, they must be someone else's. I feel like treating myself with some strawberry tarts right now. I hope the patisserie is still open.
MUM decided not to pursue the matter further as Tor'Shah is prone to angry outbursts, especially when he is deprived of his alcohol and a meal. Tor'Shah will be coming back here tomorrow anyway, so why should she spoil the fun?