B5 — 38. Week 10; The Best Birthday

PoV:

1. Sora Moore (Our Null-Void MC Foxy Birthday Girl!)

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Sora’s blurred eyes cracked open, scanning the white room she found herself in, Wendy, her mother, and Kari nearby; her memory was a big black spot, obscuring how she’d ended up as a chakram on a bed.

Her mother reached out to stroke her head, somehow knowing where it was in her weapon form.  “There we go…  How do you feel?”

“Uh… weak?”  she resonated, confused as Wendy and Kari shot to their feet.  “What happened?”

“She’s going to remain awake this time?”  her sister asked, standing beside her bed.

Her mother nodded.  “It seems that way.”

Utterly lost as to what was happening, but having enough wit to realize something was wrong, Sora struggled to reform her Null-Void body.

“Wait, Sora!”  Kari mumbled.  “You’re… not well yet.”

The world was confined to her human vision as she managed to gather enough energy to create her naked body, and her mother wrapped a blanket around her, guiding her to rest.

“Hehe.  I can do this much…  Umm, was I in an accident—what happened?”

Kari’s ears pulled back, showing a more vulnerable Kari than she’d become used to after her confrontation with her Shadow.  “I… poisoned you when you ate… yeah.”

Sora followed her gesture to the bubbles, collecting and separating the tiny wisps of shadowy liquid escaping Kari’s frame; a big one trapped the Fenris Wolf, isolating her from them, while the others seemed to be gathering it into a dense sphere so Kari’s wouldn’t be completely overtaken by the blackness.

“Oh…  Huh.”

Wendy chuckled.  “You don’t seem that worried.”

“I’m fine.  Right?”  Sora asked, looking up at her mom.

“For now,” she confirmed.  “Our current issue is this sentient force that you triggered; Kari has been trying to reign it in, but there appears to be some kind of instinctual draw to understand something before it will stop.”

“Hmm…”  Sora stared up at the ceiling as silence followed, and internally examining herself, she concluded something had made a mess of her real body as nothing else had.  “Okay.  Tell me everything that happened.”

She grinned and pointed at Kari, feeling less concerned about the results while channeling her Vulpes side.  “You may have beaten me this time, Kari, but don’t let this victory go to your head!”

“Sora… hehe.  Really?”  Wendy sighed.

Kari groaned, leaning against the side of the chair.  “She’s right.  I almost killed you—I don’t know if it was a tiny bit or not—I don’t understand anything about this new power.”

“I can relate!”  Sora snickered, seeing her mother’s soft smile as she made light of the situation.  “I was scared of hurting Emi since I didn’t know how to control my Null-Void, so I spent months inside this chamber, learning how to control it.  No sweat!  Don’t go full emo wolf on me again—I was just getting used to your sporty side.”

“Geez… you’re really something, Sora,” Kari whispered, brushing out her thick, black locks.  “I’m not going emo wolf—I’m just worried about you—I literally poisoned you—and apparently, still trying to.”

“Naaw!”  Sora scoffed, waving a hand and tucking her blanket under her armpits to push herself against the headboard, instinctively using her chakram to push her hair around to her front.  “You’re not controlling it, which means… what exactly, Mom?”

She was relieved when Wendy and Kari settled in, realizing she had enough strength to make jokes; her mother sat nearby, crossing her legs and resting her hands in her lap.

“First, would you like us to inform Emi and the others of your condition?  You have been in here for more than two days, and it will be another few hours outside before she wakes up with my sisters.”

Sora thought about it for a moment and shook her head.  “I’ll let her know Kari did a good number on me after we figure this out, and, hehe, she can baby me in bed.  I’m sure she’ll love it and make fun of me… ugh, Vix-chu, though…”

Wendy giggled at her sister’s grim, dulled eyes while mentioning her little Null-Void fox creation.  “You have the weirdest grudge against him; he’s so sweet to Emi.”

“Exactly!”  she grunted, rubbing her head as a headache came on, and the swirling smoke in the circles trembled, attempting to reach her.  “He’s… my worst nemesis—you wouldn’t understand—you created the most diabolical fluff-ball in existence.”

“Hehe.  The drama—okay, you’re good!” 

She gave them a thumbs up.  “See!  Now, story time.”

Her mother’s nine tails shifted to the opposite side while studying Kari’s new, smoky powers.  “I’ll be short.  It is likely from a Shadow Existence, one that opposes our own—the negative spectrum of forces—yet that is only a guess.

“It reacts to Null-Void differently than a typical Existence, which—and this is only an assumption—I believe Null-Void destroys the negative portion before it can grow too large, yet, clearly, there is some foundation by which it has been allowed to gain ground and is where this hive-mind-like force is communicating to.”

Kari sat forward, paying close attention to her explanation.  “If that’s the case, why, when it was used in our basketball game, didn’t it latch onto Sora’s Core or try to expand to take over this Existence when I consumed that super planet—wait… does that mean I can transport things to this Shadow Existence—did I teleport it across Existences?!”

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“Woah… that’s intense,” Wendy whispered.  “Uh, not that I really have an understanding about how insane that is or how big Existence is… or the distance between them.  Huh.  I really don’t know anything,” she sighed, head hanging with her fluffy brown tail.

“Same as me then?!”  Sora snickered, throwing up another thumb.  “No need to go overthinking things.”

“I guess.”

Her mother hummed, left ear dipping a little in a cute way that made Sora want to take a picture, and realizing she could just imprint it into a Null-Void photo, created it with a sunny glade background from their earlier time together.

So cute!

Mia accepted the offered article while explaining her thoughts with a smile.  “Aww.  It tickles me to no end that you’d want to keep a photo of me, and what a moment to capture.

“As to your question, Kari, I am inclined to believe it may be possible; we’re in uncharted territory, much like Sora’s Null-Void.  I am sure the Herald of Sakura will have some answers I can trade for—it is always a trade with Sakura.

“Why didn’t it attack Sora when used beforehand?  You were resonating, meaning, just as Sora’s Null-Void is hidden by her connection to Existence, you would be no different, and thus, it is that unlikely unity that is… hehe, like cancer, which, I know, is not the most lovely of pictures to paint.”

Kari’s tail drooped against her lap.  “I guess that makes sense…  And the planet, I guess, my power swallowed it and transported it…  Does that make me a gateway?”

“Ohh!”  Sora pointed at her.  “You’re onto something there—so I actually ate a portal that kept funneling more into me, overwhelming my system and defenses—powerful stuff!  Actually, what if I made a gateway to the Null-Void?”

Wendy’s expression became strained.  “Uh… maybe we shouldn’t try to cause some kind of colossal Null-Void vortex in the middle of Existence—I feel that would be bad… really bad.”

“It’s a valid point,” her mother nodded, giggling as if they were sitting down for Sunday brunch and talking about the latest drama.  “Wanting to grow stronger is well and good, but remember these forces are like oil, water, and fire—the wrong spark, and it could trigger something unexpected—heh, and not in a good way.”

An idea suddenly popped into Sora’s head, and holding out her hands with the others curiously watching on, she struggled to create copy chakram.  “Hey, Mom?”

“Mhm?”

“I can control my copy chakram, but they aren’t necessarily totally connected to my main body; I can create wormholes and send them commands, even receive sensory information, to a degree, but it’s all fairly basic.  If I let Kari eat it, do you think it would satisfy its need to understand me?”

Kari shook her head.  “I don’t know if we should risk that—you are connected to it, even if minimally.”

“I agree,” Wendy mumbled, drawing pages from her book to float in front of her.  “My pages aren’t exactly like your chakram, but they’re similar, and I wouldn’t be comfortable sending them into that smoke.”

The sound of Sora’s head hitting the backboard resounded around them as she thought about the comparison.  “I don’t know, Wendy…  You can’t control your summons like I can my chakram; I’d argue you’re even more disconnected to your pages once they’ve been made into a creature than my own copies.”

Wendy tilted her head left and right while pondering the rebuttal.  “True…  Isn’t that even more of a reason not to do it?”

Seeing the concern on Kari’s face, Sora knew she had to do it; her haste in wanting to better understand her friend’s powers had caused her to fear her own abilities, which would only hurt them as they went on.

Fear was dispelled by dragging things into the light, and it was better to do it with her mother here than any other time.

“I want to try!  Mom, what do you think?”

She didn’t instantly dismiss it out of fear, which helped Sora’s nerves and made her remember her mother had millions upon millions of years of experience to pull from.

“Here, let me see your chakram.”  Complying, her mother twisted it around her hand, and Sora could feel her delicate fingers and magic weaving through every piece of it.  “Hmm… it is hardwired to transmit only Null-Void signals—I cannot find a way to send anything else back.  Although, there is one thing we will need to nip in the bud.”

“Which is?”  Sora questioned, interest growing as her mother sent over a flame to encircle her true body.

“While every other medium is rather set in stone, what it could do is hijack the one bonding link you possess that could bring it close enough to latch onto you.”

“The teleporting function?”  Kari questioned.

“Indeed.  Although, it is just as it seems, a wormhole of Null-Void, which has neither length nor width nor position, allowing for instant transmission.  Therefore, I simply need to create a gathering vortex within the transport location and isolate it in empty space to trick it into thinking there is nothing on the other side to explore.”

“Such a smart cookie!”  Sora chimed, sending it up to the bubble, still collecting Kari’s smog-like shadows. 

“How sweet.”

Wendy motioned at the sparkling black dust in a separate sphere.  “What about the stuff wanting to get to me?”

“It’s a resonance,” Mia explained, guiding the bubbles to merge into Kari’s prison.  “It senses Sora’s force within you; so, if it believes it has completed its research, it should retreat.”

Happy to have some way forward, Sora played with her chakram in the air.  “That makes sense, and I can cut off communication with it to check all the boxes—let it just drop in.”

“Say this works; it’s still only a bandaid,” Kari growled, scratching her left arm.  “And I thought you didn’t like these kinds of risks?”

“Hehe.  That was Persona Sora!”  she winked.  “Don’t go growing soft on me now, Kari.  I know what it’s like to be scared of your own powers, but the only way to fix that is by using them and learning how to control them.”

“Huu-haaa.  You’re not wrong.”

Wendy didn’t seem too keen on the idea, but she didn’t push the subject since their mother was on board.  “Just… be careful.  I don’t want to lose my sister after only just getting one.”

“We gotta start somewhere,” Sora returned, releasing control on her chakram for it to be no different than a piece of clothing made from Null-Void.

Everyone watched it slide past the bubble to be swallowed by the darkness—it abruptly began to cyclone—spinning into it before shooting back to Kari and absorbing into her body.

“Victory!”  Sora weakly laughed, throwing an arm into the air before having to catch her falling sheet.  “Right, Mom?”

“Hmm.  It would appear so!”

Wendy and Kari released their pent-up air, and Sora giggled; in truth, she’d been a bit frightened, too, but she had to prevent Kari from reverting to a scared teen again.

“What now?”  Kari mumbled, glaring at her lap.  “I felt it pulling the chakram back into… wherever this came from.”

Sora carefully stretched out before scooting down to her back, realizing her mother had crafted a place for her tails.  “Now… I get chicken noodle soup, an attentive daughter, and a jealous Vix-chu!  Hehe.  Such a good birthday present, Kari!  Thank you!”

Wendy coughed before sputtering a laugh.  “Pfft—seriously!  It kind of was your birthday, wasn’t it?  You just don’t have luck with birthdays!  Do you, Sora?”

“I don’t know,” she mused.  “I like to think a ton of amazing things come out of these stressful circumstances.  I almost got eaten by Eric last birthday, and now I was almost eaten by Kari!  Ooh—I’m collecting the full set!”

“Really?”  Kari groaned, rubbing her forehead.  “I didn’t even think about that…  So dumb.”

“I think I’m pretty smart,” Sora boasted, turning her nose to the white sky.  “Now, Mom gets to reinforce your training room, and you get to learn how to control this stuff—I know you can.”

Kari snorted, rolling her eyes and crossing her arms as she sank into her seat.  “How?”

Sora’s smile softened with her voice.  “Because… you’re you…  Kari, the invincible, headstrong Fenris Wolf…  One of my best friends and you don’t give up or let anything stand in your way.  Hehe.  You wouldn’t even let your Persona or Shadow stop you.  How can a little smoke keep you down, huh?”

Silence ensued; Kari seemed to be struck speechless by her response.

“… Wow.  Heh.  I, uh… guess I have quite the image to live up to.”

Sora shook her head against the pillow she was using.  “You just have to live up to the image you’ve already solidified.  I’ll be building daughter points for the next bit, so Wendy and you will need to make up for my lost progress.  Sound good?”

Wendy snickered, taking the opportunity of having Sora weakened in bed to tickle her nose with her poofy tail.  “So lazy…”

“Hey!”  Sora barked, blowing on the fur to try to push it away.  “Don’t throw all your shedding fur over my face—wait, are you balding!”

“I’m not shedding!  Am I?  No!  Sora!”

“Mia-ha-ha-ha!”  Sora roared, mirroring Nari with humor at making Wendy question herself.  “Victory again!  I’m on fire with these Vs.  Ha-ha!  I’m rediscovering why I loved your side, Mom.”

“Hmm-hmm-hmm.  Finding joy in the hard times is what feeds hope.  Kari…”

“Is it really safe to practice?”  she sighed, still staring at her hand with uncertainty.  “It’s not going to jump out and go straight for Sora again because of the resonance thing?”

“Why don’t we go test things out and leave Sora to recover; Wendy, I believe it would be beneficial to have you present and to even practice with Kari.”

Wendy’s ears folded back.  “Really?  Uh… I’ve only practiced with Sora.”

Sora forced herself over to jab Wendy’s shoulder.  “Which will be good for you and Rita!  C’mon, are you still hiding—get out here?!”

A tiny groan came from Wendy’s tail as the little fairy poked her head out, looking at Kari with fright; she couldn’t talk but could make emotional notes to illustrate her mood.

“Yup!”  Sora dramatically sang.  “You guys get to spend bonding time together as poor, weak, helpless Sora is nurtured back to health by her adoring, attentive daughter—oh, and we have all the new seasons of the dramas to watch!  Perfect timing!  Okay… no joke, best present, Kari—best present!”

Her mother, Wendy, and Kari couldn’t help but laugh, and with a few more bantering words, she was carried back to her bed after Mia transported the two off to their own room and accelerated time for Sora’s.

It was a bit timey-wimey awkward, but Sora figured her mother had already spent hours, possibly days, with Wendy and Kari in the other chamber as she waited in bed for Mia to explain things to her sisters and granddaughter.

Covers pulled up over her bare skin and hair draped over her shoulder, Sora stared at the ceiling, pondering how things were going.  It was good that Wendy and Kari were finally spending time together.

Sora’s ears twitched as she heard the door down the hall fly open; settling in and putting on her best sick face, Sora molded her voice to become husky.

“Mom!  Mom—a-are you okay?!”

“Emi… is that you?”

“Wha… Mom, are you blind?!  Aunt Nari—Mom’s blind?!”

“What?”  The blonde flashed into being from golden flames above her, eyebrow raised as she studied her.  “No, she isn’t—true, she’s certainly weak, but I… oh—oh!”

“What?!”  Emilia cried, Sora figuring the woman had discovered she wanted to be babied.  “What is it?!”

“Ooh, uh… Your mother’s very weak, Emi, umm, look how cold she looks…”

“Is she shaking?  Oh, no!  I can make a warm fire!”

Sora couldn’t be prouder as her daughter created a magical flame that, while utterly useless for her adaptable body, was a symbol that heated her heart nonetheless.

“Emi… that feels nice…”

“Yes!  It worked, Aunt Nari—she can see?”

“Hehe.  I can see your adorable face,” Sora cooed, a twinkle brightening her eyes as she caught Vix-chu hanging in the doorway, glaring at her.

That’s right; it’s my turn!  Mia-ha-ha-ha!  Sick mothers are number one on the attention list!  Are you mad—oh, you’re so mad I’m playing this up!  Vengeance is sweet.

“What should I do, Mom?  Are you comfortable—do you need something… Well, I guess you could just eat air, but… that doesn’t taste good.”

“Nuh-uh—not at all,” Sora croaked.  “I need something with love in it.”

“Hehe.  Mom!  You’re funny when you’re sick…  Uh… soup, rest, and movies—romance!”

“Eh?!”  Sora’s mind blanked at the last part.  “Don’t… you mean dramas?”

“No!  No!  No!”  Emilia flatly rejected, making Sora’s ears pull back.

“No dramas?”  she whimpered.

“Too stressful!  You need cute and happy romances.  Love, remember?  I have the perfect series!  I’ll get Tola, and we can all watch it together—oh, grandma can join us, too—everyone can help you relax and feel better!  Perfect plan!”

The corner of Vix-chu’s mouth twisted with the sparkle in his eyes that said:  “Dug yourself into a hole there, Boss, didn’t’cha?”

Curses!  It backfired.  Abort!  No romance!  Unless… drama romance?  Give me drama!

Sora cried inside as her daughter prepared the perfect day for them to enjoy as a family—excluding the drama—and while all the girls around them teared up at the somehow endless love story—including Eyia, Mary, Nathan, Ashley, and their families or loved ones—Sora sat, mostly unmoved with Jin, who had the luxury of leaving.

Still, at least she had her daughter snuggling next to her and new pajamas she had specially crafted for her; she didn’t need dramas, and it was good enough to just relax with her family.

She gave her mother the chance to personally have a one-on-one hand with her daughter, Mofupsi, and her aunts—who stole even more time by slowing it in their own spheres—assuring them she had more than enough people to support her.

Overall—excluding the shot-down drama marathon—Sora had a truly wonderful day, and it also gave her time to enjoy the experience of showing her daughter her favorite series while not feeling so weak.

As the night rolled into bedtime, Emilia drifted off to sleep, drooling into Sora’s tails-turned-pillow while dreaming about some prince charming, no doubt, after all the romances she’d devoured.

Sora lifted her hand to greet Kari, Wendy, and her mother as they appeared in her room; Mia cast a noise cancelation spell around her daughter so they could speak.

“How did things go?”  she sleepily asked.

“Hehe.  You look like you’re in heaven?”  Wendy cooed, reaching down to rub a chirping Emilia’s head before moving to the accursed fox that cuddled against her daughter’s legs.

Sora was thrilled to see a soft smile on Kari’s face, seemingly regaining her cool poise after whatever they’d done.  “It looks like things went well?”

“We’ll be quick,” Kari whispered with a nod.  “There are things we’re still working out, but it’s looking good.  I can control it… it’s just… weird.”

“Mysterious,” Sora snickered.  “Honestly, I’ll probably be down for a week—heh, figures the one who could do the most damage to me was… well, heh, me.  I swear it—I will find some way to get Emi to let me watch dramas!”

Wendy giggled, fixing the sheets a bit.  “You sound like a kid trying to convince his parents to stay home from school or have sweets at bedtime.”

“Hehe.  It’s just nice having Emilia fuss over me—it sucks when you have such a good immune system as me, and you never get to have the sick-mom experience!  I’m going to soak every drop out of—of this,” she yawned, truly feeling exhausted by this point.

Her mother nodded and bent down, fiery hair draping over her as she kissed her forehead before doing the same for Emilia.  “I’m glad we can end this on such a happy note.  I’ll be leaving soon; I have a lot to discuss with your Aunt Inari.”

Sora held up her hand to bring their attention to her bracelet; she hadn’t taken it off since her mother returned it to her.  “I’ll see you soon.”

“I look forward to it…  Sweet dreams, my little frisbee.”

“Mom,” Sora giggled as she kissed her again; she’d taken an instant shine to Emilia’s nickname for her.  “I love you.”

“Love you, too.”

Sora closed her eyes as the three left, savoring the first time her mother had tucked her into bed; this truly was the best birthday she’d ever had.


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