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You're lost.

Wisps of fog and mist creep along the ground. The path leading into the forest before you seems untouched, there is an eerie lack of wildlife, and it is quiet. Too quiet. Goosebumps shudder down your spine. Something about this place is wrong : There is no sign of life anywhere, but at the same time, you sense that this forest is very much alive. The pulsing energy, like a heartbeat - you can feel it humming in the air. You take an uneasy glance toward the forest. It looms above you, dark and quiet. Cold sweat clings to your skin as you stare into the depths of the densely packed trees... they seem to stare back at you.

Entirely creeped out, you shake the disturbing thought out of your head. Your neck prickles uncomfortably. For some reason, you feel like you're being watched. Don't be silly, you tell yourself with a nervous laugh. It is dark now, much darker than you expected.

To your great relief, soft moonlight shifts through the leaves to and illuminates the wooden arrow sign pointing towards Tokyo. There's a slight chill in the air. As you make your way back towards the city, you notice the path crunching under your feet seems to shimmer just so, as if it is embedded with little diamonds. You shrug. The moonlight must be bright tonight.

Another wooden post appears in the distance. The sign points Tokyo in the opposite direction - you've been walking the wrong way the entire time. Embarrassed, you turn around and walk on. The forest branches seem to reach out towards you, but quietly... ominously. There is still an eerie lack of sound, a loud silence that lingers in your ears. The trees in the distance are slightly blurry, just a bit out-of-focus. Maybe you need glasses.

Night falls gently over the forest, masking the trees in an almost black darkness. Your breath escapes in little bursts of foggy clouds. The flashlight, though the batteries have been recently replaced, flickers on and off as you smack it against your palm in frustration. Your compass has gone haywire, spinning around uselessly, and your cellphone refuses to pick up reception. You check your watch, but the face is completely blank. Ice floods through your veins.

Then you hear a soft giggle behind you.

You whirl on your heel. Who's there? you ask. Please help me... I'm lost. And I... I think I'm seeing things.

Squinting into the dark sea of trees, there's a soft blue light, nestled in the damp leaves at the roots of a tree. The comforting light warms your cold spirit as you wander closer, enchanted by the ethereal beauty of the flickering ice blue orb. Faint murmuring voices emanate from the innocuous white-blue flame. There is a burning need festering inside your chest, a need to hear what these softly mocking voices are saying; for some reason, you feel as if these voices hold the secret to your dreams - but it fades as you get close. Then, over there. In the darkness, perched atop a mossy pile of rocks. There's another little will-o-wisp. It's almost cute.

Running towards the teasing wisp, you trip on tangled tree roots but cup your hands to catch the little flame. But it's gone, and instead, there's three in the distance, peeking out amongst dark leaves. Out of the corner eye, you see the wooden Tokyo signpost again, and it snaps you out of your entranced stupor. You blink. The air seems to shimmer and blur. Suddenly, you realize you've passed that signpost more times than you can remember.

A beautiful girl, the prettiest you've ever seen, appears out of thin air and peers down at you curiously. Her hair is long and dark and spills over her shoulders, ending in an intricate braid adorned with a silk green ribbon. Nine white tails sway behind her, playing with a pulsing blue orb, larger than the smaller flames scattered across the forest. Her eyes are a deceptively warm shade of golden yellow, bright and inquisitive. She tilts her head as she looks at you. Her warm, warm eyes invite you in, and you find yourself mesmerized by the swirling gold pools, falling, falling, deeper and deeper...

The ground tilts sharply to the side. You cry out, surprised, as you fumble at the ground, which is almost straight up now, but only air slips through your fingers as you slide down, down - the forest floor seems upright for half a second - and then you're sliding again, and the little blue lights are back, whirling around you in a furious dance, and you're sliding faster, falling now. Air is whipping through your hair and wind tears your skin and you're screaming - and then you're not. The forest floor beneath you is solid and intact. The dampness of the ground seeps into your back. You're alive. Out of shock, salty tears begin to slide down your face and leave tracks of dirt in their wake.

Suddenly, you slam headfirst into a dark tree trunk that you know was not there two seconds ago. Dizzy, you press your hand to your forehead. Blood. Your vision blurs. Wet dew on the trees brush against your legs as you lie on a bed of dark blackened leaves. Rows of black, thick trees crouching down towards you blocks any trace of sunlight or wind, giving the forest a quiet aura. The absolute silence is unsettling. The trees reach for you again, and this time, you don't think you're imagining it - those branches are starting to look like hands. The beautiful girl from before is watching you from behind a tree, giggling with her hand covering her mouth.

A sharp pain pierces your soft mind like knife through butter, and you scream - you can feel your mind invaded, someone, something, is shuffling through your fears, your dreams, your loved ones, flipping through flashes of your innermost thoughts as you are forced to watch a rapid slideshow of the entirety of yourself. You feel ants crawling across your skin and you see the ones you hold dear to your heart running in between the trees as you chase after them in vain and you suddenly know she's doing it, you can hear her high voice laughing in your head now, bouncing in your crevices of your skull -

It's no fun if you don't fight baaack, she whines.

You feel your mind slipping like sand through fingers and then, almost mercifully, the blackness takes over your feverish mind.





Chimeko is a small, mischievous nine-tailed fox who has lived in the forest of Aokigahara for as long as she can remember. How or why, no one is quite sure. Although the rest of the world doesn't know it, Chimeko is the real reason why Aokigahara is so famously known for its lost travelers. With vivid illusions, she plays tricks and mind games with anyone who is unfortunate enough to stumble into her forest - swapping the paths, switching landmarks, reversing the signs - and watches gleefully as he or she staggers in circles on what is, in reality, a very straightforward road.

Playful by nature, she possesses a thirst for entertainment that is almost annoying. - after centuries of being alive, one does tend to get bored. Because of this, she is easily distracted and very impatient. Chimeko is incredibly flighty and difficult to pin down; she tends to flit about like a butterfly, darting in and out of the trees. She is merely a nine-tailed fox with an affinity for illusions and a little too much cheek.

Her most common tactic to lure mortals into her forest is simply to confuse them with her illusions. However, when Chimeko is feeling particularly impish, she pretends to be a kind and beautiful human. She charms them with her grace and sweet singsong voice, persuading humans into dancing, running, singing until their hearts burst and lungs collapse for the pure entertainment of it.

Mischievous, Sadistic, Pitiless

Nothing gives Chimeko greater joy than mischief and trickery. She's almost like a child, at times, because of her unsatiable curiosity and boredom, her constant lookout for cheap entertainment in the form of playing games with adorable little humans. And in some ways, she is - young at heart and isolated in her forest, she tends to be immature and petulant.

Though Chimeko has no purely malicious intent, her attitude towards humans is that of a slightly condescending one, and she does not see the cruelty of her actions. She believes them to be lesser beings, but thinks they are cute and very fun to play and toy with. Since she is not fully human, she does not feel pity or remorse in the slightest.

It is true she derives great pleasure from human distress, but it is not because she likes inflicting pain. To her, it's really only for the cheap and easy entertainment. The nuances and pitches of mortal screams rings pleasantly in her forest like music. The sweating, agonized faces of humans in peril never fails to look hilarious to her, even cute sometimes, with the squeezed eyes, clenched fists, beads of sweat and tears... She finds nothing quite as adorable as fear.

Selfish, Greedy, Vain

Chimeko is incredibly selfish, with a knack for stealing and hoarding all sorts of objects. She loves anything shiny, and stashes her stolen treasure in various trees to hoard and admire later. Anyone who ventures too close to her collections is doomed, for Chimeko is very possessive over her things and will punish them to make sure no one steals from her.

She is also vain - she is beautiful, and she knows it. If she finds a strain of water, a small stream, a little pond, she will spend hours trying various poses and admiring her reflection. Thus, Chimeko is easily swayed by flattery. If a human is able to keep his wits about him and shower her with the correctly worded compliments, she tends to get distracted and forget about him, preferring to marvel at her own beauty rather than play with him.



Appearance

Chimeko is, by all standards, very beautiful. Though she is as ancient as the forest, she is young in appearance and at heart. Her body is small and slim, and she is exceptionally pale. Her eyes are golden yellow but occasionally seem white. In her semi-human form, Chimeko prefers to wear green clothing to match the trees, and normally wears silk for the softness. She has fox ears and nine white tails, as well as three markings on both sides of her face.

To most travelers, she appears as a beautiful girl with fox tails and ears. Other divine, demonic, or spiritual powers would see her in her true form - a shining brown and green nine-tailed fox - but not many visit her forest save for a few. Tsukuyomi, the god of the moon, has been one of the rare to possess a mind strong enough to live in her forest without being affected by her; to him, she is a mere nuisance. As a fox, she resembles a regular, small xweetok, light brown in color with her nine tails tipped green. Her ears stay the same in either form, and her eyes retain the same devious gleam.



Chimeko is never seen without her foxfire orb. It is a wispy blue-ish white ball of energy, slightly bigger than her head. Since Chimeko is more ethereal than real, the orb is what uses her life essence to ground her to the earth and keep her existence alive as an annoying minor goddess.

It is also the focus of her magic. Without her orb, it would be much more difficult to wiggle into the minds of humans and plant images, and almost impossible to switch between human and fox forms. She also uses her foxfire orb to light up the dark forest, like a miniature sun, when she wants to watch her various trinkets shine. The glow it gives off is muted, but still mysteriously beautiful.

Although her orb is made of her life essence, it seems to have a mind of its own at times. Normally it uses levitation to trail behind her or hover obediently near her palm, but sometimes, to Chimeko's delight, the orb will begin to dance around her tails and even split into mini-orbs to surround her in a blur (or disorient lost travelers). Sometimes, when the orb comes back together, these smaller orbs are accidentally left behind, sparking the will-o-wisp tales across the land.

Alone in the forest with no true company, the orb is her best friend.




Chimeko has been a part of the forest for as long as she can remember, and she has never felt the urge to leave. Regardless of the eerie reputation of Aokigahara, she loves her forest dearly. She harbors the ability to plant images and illusions in the environment around her, as well as peoples' minds. Though projecting a static image on reality's canvas requires less effort than working from the inside of human minds, Chimeko prefers personally toying with the human's mental state.

Often, she will project an image onto the environment to manipulate the area she focuses on. Other times, she will suggest an image into travelers' heads to overlap their vision, and it will be up to them to block her out and focus on what is real. However, most humans are weak-minded and therefore susceptible and vulnerable; most of the time they fall into her hands like putty. She takes great enjoyment in playing mind games and manipulating humans like marionettes on strings.

Though Chimeko finds the initial challenge refreshing and fun when someone is strong enough to block her out, she loses interest very fast and simply gets irritated instead. At this point, she just wants them broken or gone - the ones who manage to stay sane after enduring constant battering on their minds are the ones who go back home and start the rumors and legends about Aokigahara.

But, usually, they don't make it that far.


The easiest way for Chimeko to cast illusions is simply to project the false images onto the environment. However, she's also capable of inserting the illusion into one's mind, overlapping reality's image in the feverish little brain. Chimeko generally uses seven different kinds of illusions, or a combination of two or more of those kinds.

OUTSIDE PROJECTION: With intense concentration and knowledge of what they're seeking, people can see through these illusions.

Item Materialization: To make an illusion of an item appear, Chimeko focuses on a particular area to create false images in that specific location. For example, she can summon illusory dancing fireflies, give rise to false trees, or spawn a "person" (although creating illusions of living creatures are always harder than of objects). The larger the area/item, the more difficult it is to maintain.

Item Masking: On the flip side, masking merely means to project a blind spot onto the environment, hiding whatever she focuses on from view. This comes in handy for wiping the faces of watches clean, leading people into invisible trees, and obscuring scratch marks as she watches humans obliviously irritate their wounds.

Item Warping: Warping requires her to focus on an already existing item and simply changing its qualities. Reversing signs and changing the writing on them are two of her favorite tricks; she can also psuedo-transform compasses into worms, vines into snakes, and so on.

Landscaping: The rarest and most difficult out of the projection illusions, this trick of focus rapidly drains energy and is incredibly tiring to maintain. Chimeko blankets the entire field of view with a false scene. Due to the magnitude and size of this illusion, it is not as believable as her other tricks. She only brings the illusion into clear focus wherever her victim's gaze shifts; the peripheral edges are always slightly hazy.

MENTAL MANIPULATION: Much harder, nigh impossible to focus through these illusions.

For more personal illusions, Chimeko reaches into her victim's mind and tugs on the strings of the mind itself rather than only interacting with the environment and the visual component of deception: working from the inside out. This way, she can also tap into a person's memories, thoughts, fears, etc, which she exploits to tailor her illusions to every individual. In her experience, these always elicit the most agonized responses - or to her, the cutest.

Sensation/Emotion: By tapping into the areas of the brain dealing with sensation, fear, hunger/thirst, love, or even automatic functions, she can trick her victim into thinking they're starving, dehydrated, madly in love, unable to breathe... as well as convince themselves of more intense sensations, such as ants crawling under their skin or their body free-falling through the ground.

Cloning: Cloning is a unique method, in which Chimeko "plants" copies of herself in the part of her target's mind that deals with vision. This is rare and only used when she's desperate to break a particularly stubborn human. She can also clone other people, such as her target, but this is bound to fail due to the different wavelengths of mind and how it is nearly impossible to sync. Hypothetically, if Chimeko knew her victim well, it would be easier to clone him or her, but she never keeps them long enough to reach that point - after all, you shouldn't play with your food.

Combination: She can easily maintain multiple illusions only if they are in the same category. If not, these are called combined illusions - they are incredibly challenging, even for her, and only used when necessary. Combinations consist of using more than one illusion type at once, which demands her to simultaneously juggle multiple trains of thought and not to get distracted even once (which is difficult for her). Otherwise, both illusions will collapse.

For example, mixing sensation with materialization could cause the victim to not only feel the unpleasant sensation of ants crawling on his skin, but also be able to see the "ants." Though Chimeko cannot uphold these illusions for too long, they are extremely potent and are almost guaranteed to drive someone into insanity if used effectively.



Aokigahara, also known as the Sea of Trees, is a real forest that lies at the base of Mount Fuji in Japan. (Its real story is much more disturbing). Due to the wind blocking density of the trees and a strange absence of wildlife, the forest is known for being eerily quiet. It is often associated with Japanese mythology and demons. However, there are no demons in Aokigahara, only Chimeko. The forest is infamous for the high rate of lost travelers. Occasionally, brave thrill-seekers will take the challenge, disregarding the rumors, which are in fact true, about malfunctioning compasses, distorting maps, and switching landmarks. But those people aside, no one dares come close to Aokigahara unless they are very, very, lost.

Cellphones carry no reception. There are also large underground iron deposits that cause compasses to go haywire even without Chimeko's help. As a result, people believe the forest is full of restless spirits; every year, villagers come and lay their valuables at the mouth of the forest as an offering to prevent being haunted. Though Chimeko does not know the meaning of this, she pockets the shiny treasures regardless and stashes them under various little trees, where she keeps her collections of various pickpocketed trinkets to admire and coo over later.

The forest floor consists primarily of volcanic rock and is difficult to penetrate with hard tools such as picks or shovels. There is also a variety of unofficial trails that are used semi-regularly for the annual "hunt" for missing persons, hosted by local volunteers. Sometimes, thrill seekers and adventurers will attempt to use tape to mark their paths in order to avoid getting lost, but this litter only serves to anger Chimeko. After the first kilometer into Aokigahara towards Mount Fuji, the forest is in pristine condition, with no obvious signs of human presence.



It's been years. Or at least, it feels like years. You have no grasp of the concept of time anymore. For what seems like an eternity, Chimeko has been bringing you to the brink of insanity and dragging you back from the edge. You can't stop seeing. Even in darkness you see them, the achingly beautiful images of light and hope. The phantoms seep through the cracks of your mind. At this point, insanity would be a blessing.

You've been reduced to rocking back and forth in the dark, claustrophobic sea of trees, muttering consolations under your breath, trying to convince yourself that this is only a dream... that you'll wake up soon. That it'll be okay. You see the tantalizing illusion of the exit once again, the glorious escape, and just as you give in to the temptation and begin to crawl towards the light, she snatches it away from you. Again.

Dimly through the fog of your muddled thoughts, you hear her laugh at you, a beautiful peal of ringing bells that cuts through the unnatural silence like glass, laughing and laughing and laughing until it's been branded into your brain and echoes in your skull. It's the last thing you hear as you give up and finally, finally let go of the few strings of sanity clinging to your mind.

Sweet surrender.

.

.


Coding is from Zhu (soragin), used with permission - thank you so much!
None of the art belongs to me. Ahri (c) Riot Games





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