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Revelation and Rebirth: The Nightmare’s Reprisal

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Tsubame
 
 
On a dock outside the city of Consequence, Tsubame was preparing the final touches for their journey south. Coats, food, fuel, and other various amenities to help aid in their survival as they went down south. After all, they would be ferrying special cargo and needed to be prepared. Their mission? Get themselves and their hooded spooky friend down to the Southern Ocean to get to the bottom of the memorial mystery they found themselves in. Now they just had to wait for…Her.
 
Magicia
 
 
As the sun started to set, Magicia finally arrived, pulling her hood over her head as she hurried down the dock to Tsubame. This was it. Her heart raced with nerves. Whatever she’d find out there, it would probably be painful for one of both of them to realize. Yet she was dead set on finding out the truth – especially reconnecting with her family. “Hey there, Tsu. Did I keep you waiting long?”
 
Tsubame
 
 
“I suppose I should be asking you the same. I dunno if you and all your spookiness needs to eat but I needed to keep my mortal ass in gear.” Tsu smirked, offering the woman a hand to get into the boat. “Ready to go on an adventure Spooky Bit-… I mean uh…” Tsu took a deep breath, averting their gaze for a moment to avoid any possible side effects. They weren’t sure after the events of today how their dumb body would react to new revelations. “Miss Magicia, shall we depart?”
 
Magicia
 
 
“I got something to eat before hand, so I should hold through.” She raised a brow as Tsu nearly called her Spooky Bitch again, but didn’t say anything as she took their hand and hopped in. Hand holding, she thought. So lewd. That’s what Fwuf would say. “Yes, let’s get going. We have a long trip. Hopefully you’re feeling better.”
 
Tsubame
 
 
“I don’t want to jinx anything but… I think I’m good.” Mostly, they thought. That taste of blood still lingered ever so faintly in their mouth. But thankfully they’d brought enough snacks to keep them going. “Managed to call in a few favors for some of the Olde Watch that was leftover in a few scrapyards. Complicated shit, normally, but since this is more for water than traveling the void of space I figured I could fudge the numbers.” Tsubame pointed Magicia in the direction of some life vests and the belted seats as they raised some of the protective plexiglass around them. “Should be a pretty straight shot once we get going, though we’re going to make sure to stay in international waters. Last I heard Thistlemere doesn’t take too kindly to visitors and I don’t think I’m going to carry much favor with Twine based on my employment history.” They pointed to their unit tattoo to emphasize that last point.
 
Magicia
 
 
Her brow twitched at that. “Yes, probably for the best.” With that she went ahead and strapped in, making sure her life vest was snug – though she felt a little silly wearing it. To make light of it, she saluted with a snarky tone. “Aye aye, captain crunch!”
 
Tsubame
 
 
Tsu grinned, bracing themselves into place as they prepared to “set sail”. With a roar the boat engine came to life. It wasn’t so much a oat as it was a repurposed space mustang, but… fuck it. Tsubame gently reversed the boat, throwing the whole thing back about 50 feet in half a second. Tsubame’s grim preperation gave way to stupid joy. “Hehe, boat go WEEE!” NYOOM! Away the boat went down the ocean highways. The machinery roared as they sped away from the North Western continent and towards the south sea. It would still be a Helluva ride with quite a few islands to dodge, but at least it would take hours rather than days…
 
Time passed, the night going on with some pleasant conversation and jokes that the pair’s writers would love to write out if it wasn’t a work night. Soon they ran the gambit from warm to cold to freezing temperatures, Tsubame now bundled in a heavy coat as they approached their destination. “We’re here, Magicia,” said Tsubame with condensation flowing from their lips. “In about 2 minute’s time we’ll officially cross into Antarctic waters.”
 
Magicia
 
 
As the temperature dropped, she got more and more quiet, lost in thought. She was now starting to wonder if there was anything to even find out here. Perhaps this trip was worthless… yet she still felt that lull she had several days ago. That sensation that was calling to her. She needed to at least try. The cold didn’t really get to her. Maybe it was because of this incomplete form, or the fact she had lived in these conditions for quite a while. Either way, she didn’t need any extra layers. “Keep an eye out for anything unusual, like purple crystal.”
 
Tsubame
 
 
Tsubame nodded, slowing the vessel down once they’d offically crossed into the empty waters. Here, surrounded by cold mist and black skies, it felt… strangely homely. Their breath was like smoke from their mouth, and Tsu started to wonder if that bloody taste was emanating from them. Could she… smell the blood they tasted? No… it had to be a hallucination. Their brain must have just been fucked by something in the planet’s atmosphere… ignoring the fact that on their last sip of coffee, the lid came back red. But Tsu carried on looking, searching for any sign…
 
Magicia
 
 
She unbuckled and stood, carefully making her way closer to the edge so she could peer out over the dark waters. Looking. Listening. But she also tried to push some small talk to calm the tension. “… So did you ever hear anything more about Krieger?”
 
Tsubame
 
 
Tsubame took a deep breath before letting their head hang, face enshrouded by misty breath and their own long hair. There was a heaviness to their whole person. They had the same questions Magicia had. Had this search been worthless? “No… nothing. Not even whispers of where he might be, or what he’s become since I’ve been gone. Nothing on Time Key, only scratching the surface on Gema… and a piece of purple bullshit floating in the ocean?” Tsubame brought the boat to a stop near a floating fragment of strange, off color salt crystal.
 
Magicia
 
 
She was about to bring up how if Paracosm lasted, there could be a hint, but the sighting distracted her. Quietly and cautiously, she leaned over the side of the boat to reach out and touch the crystal. An overwhelming familiarity swept over her. She shivered, but not from the cold. From a seed of realization being planted. “… This is what Paracosm was made out of.” She straightened up, clutching her hand to her chest, eyes closing as she tried to remember. Think, Magicia. Think.
 
Tsubame
 
 
“What it was… made of?” Tsubame froze, looking out over the seas. No land masses in sight… “Fuck. That… I don’t like what that implies. Typically the inner workings of something don’t go floating around unless it’s… in a lot of pieces.” Tsubame almost choked on their words. It was a hauntingly familiar feeling, coming back to find your home in ruins. But this… this seemed worse.
 
Magicia
 
 
She felt a wave of sorrow wash over her. Her kingdom was destroyed? Everything she worked so hard for… Something wasn’t adding up though. She also felt… rage. Her eyes shot open as she slowly unfastened her life jacket, getting close to the rail once again. “There was a loud noise.” She was starting to get it.
 
Tsubame
 
 
Tsubame pondered a moment longer, only for their own revelation. “Wait… if it makes any sense, I think I saw something… in a dream. As much as that sounds like hokey, essential oils pedaling house wives talk, hear me out…” Tsubame took a deep breath. “What if the same event that led to… this… also led to MY temporal displacement? I mean, there’s all sorts of bullshit that could go down on Hellifyno…”
 
Magicia
 
 
“… It probably did, Tsubame.” She set her life jacket on her seat, gripping the rail with a trembling hand. “I really think it did.” She suddenly hoisted herself up onto the rail, balancing there as she stared into the icy cold waters below. “… Cold. Wet. Dark.” Something below the waves was calling to her. She braced herself to jump.
 
Tsubame
 
 
Tsubame’s eyes went wide as they realized what was going on. “Oh what the fuck! Can’t I just have an easy day for once?!” There it was again, that taste of blood, but stronger this time. Their stomach was churning, doing somersaults inside their body. The anxiety must be tearing them apart… unless it was something else. Tsubame ran to the rail, both to try and talk Magicia down, and to support themselves. They couldn’t be, sea sick could they? “I didn’t spend all that prep time just to watch you give yourself an Inuit funeral 3000 miles from anywhere in the middle of the fucking arctic night!”
 
Magicia
 
 
She carefully turned around, offering a weak smile to Tsu. “Yes. You did. We both want the truth, don’t we? So I’m going to go find it. Wait for me.” With that, she closed her eyes and let herself fall backwards, plunging into the icy depths. As she let the darkness drag her down amazingly fast, she thought the words she couldn’t bring herself to say yet. /Wait for me, like a good little maid.
 
Cold. Wet. Dark. Suffocating. As she sank, it was all coming back to her. The loud deafening sounds. A shower of meteors that suddenly fell from the sky directly onto her island. The gods had laughed at her that day, punishing her for who knows what. Anything? Everything? Nothing? Nonetheless, her island had started to shatter before her, as she had slowly drowned… and she remembered that surge of power. A desperate wave of energy – her true primordial potential – shining through for the first time. With that, she had mustered everything in her to save everything. To send her island… somewhere else. A void. A completely empty void where it could never be harmed by the bullshit of this world again. Anything she could salvage from an icy death. Even herself… She escaped. She escaped, and yet she was still here. A fragment of her own soul left behind in the split from this multiverse, bound by her ties to it. Broken and empty, lost at the bottom of the ocean for a year, until she washed up on some beach as an empty husk. This was the truth. Paracosm was safe, but it was gone. She was free, but she was trapped here.
 
Tsubame
 
 
Tsubame simply watched down below for a time, watching her sink like a rock into the icy waters. They wanted to do something but… what could they do? The dreams of the creature rang in their head, echoing inside their skull… “BROKEN…underneath your skin … like looking into a mirror…” As Tsubame stared into the water, they caught a glimpse at their reflection. Tsubame couldn’t explain it, but it seemed to stare back. And then… as the reflection smiled back at them, Tsubame felt it: Overwhelming nausea, as if their entire body wanted to climb out of their throat. Tsubame collapsed into the boat, writhing in agony. They wretched and coughed but nothing came. Only screams.
 
Magicia
 
 
As the truth all came back to her, her body slowly began to shift more. Shadows became flesh, pale and icy as the ocean itself. Her hair grew longer, becoming real strands of silky tresses. Her eyes shot open, staring up at the faint moonlight of the surface. Mustering her powers, she propelled herself back upwards, writhing tentacles pushing her up and back to the side of the boat, where she leapt off to Tsu’s side, dropping by them. It seemed their moment had come as well. Their sickness… she had a feeling what it meant. “Tsu… Don’t fight it. Listen to me.” She took a deep breath. “Listen to your mistress.”
 
Tsubame
 
Tsubame could not speak or even stand. It felt like their entire body was coming undone from within. Blood ebbed from their mouth as they curled up as best they could. Tsu clutched at their arms hard enough to break the skin, but no relief came. There was a light though. They looked up and saw Magicia. Ah, good old Spooky Bitch seemed to have finally gotten their shit together. For a brief moment, Tsubame was able to get a moment of control of their body back, managing to get back up to their hands and knees from their fetal position There was just a hint of pained relief on their face as they tried to stammer out something motivational about how ol’ shadowy ‘Her’ had managed to get back to who she was… and that’s when the vomiting started. Tsubame’s eyes went wide as the torrent surged from their mouth. That taste of blood wasn’t a lingering presence any longer, it was a now overwhelming as the fluid poured from their nose. A pool of red and black coagulated goo poured into the boat. After a minute that seemed like hours, Tsubame collapsed into the deck. However, there was no relief in their eyes. There was no way there was that much blood in them, and it felt so heavy and sickening… something had come out of their body. As they lay there, face down in the pool of ichor, a voice echoed in the frigid polar air…
 
The Thing In The Boat
 
 
“I have come into being…”
 
Magicia
 
She could only step back, trying to avoid letting the torrent of gooey fluids get on her. What else could she do but watch and wait? As things finally subsided, she quietly stood, staring at the mess that was left. Sure, that part of her that actually befriended Tsubame wanted to go to their side and make sure they were alright – but first, it was time for a very important reunion. She smirked at the goo. “About time. I was wondering where you were.”
 
Tsubame
 
 
Tsubame just kinda laid there, muttering and leaking blood from their face as they stared at the thing that had come from their body…
 
The Thing In The Boat
 
 
From the ooze on the deck a shape began to arise. To Tsubame it may seem like a horrible mirror image. To Magicia, however, it may seem a might more familiar. It spoke once more, it voice like a horrid imitation of human speech. “Apologies, Mistress… It was difficult to locate this shard of you when even you didn’t know you were here. And to think, after all this time we’d end up where it all began…” The shape turned to Tsubame. Even in the swirling coagulated blood there was the beginnings of a toothy maw being formed… and a malicious grin. “Thank you for keeping me so warm, little one. And for taking such good care of our Mistress while I was away. Despite everything, letting you maintain your humanity turns out to have been the right decision after all… “
 
Magicia
 
 
“What matters is you’re back. I’m back.” She finally moved forward, mindful of where she stepped, to crouch by Tsubame with a mellow expression. “And you, I believe, got a bit of clarity as to who and WHAT you are.” She offered a gentle hand to at least stroke their hair a bit. “I do feel bad for it being like this, truly. After everything you’ve done for me… but in the end, that’s your purpose. You should be proud. Anyone else would have probably died far before they were finished.” She looked up at the one who’d emerged. “I want them to be taken care of.”
 
Tsubame
 
 
Tsu just kinda laid there in shock, trying to get up and do… something. ANYTHING. Yet, all they could manage was to was groan and whimper. It all had been building to this. It all made sense now, the gaps in their memory from back in the watch, their convenient disappearance, their rage… all belonged to that THING… to Fwufikins. Tsubame finally got their truth, and it scared them to death. All they could do is look up at the golem of blood and nightmares before them and pray for mercy…
 
The Thing In The Boat
 
 
The entity couldn’t bow quite yet, but it did sploosh and lurch a little. “Of course, Mistress. After all, this one has helped us so much! Look at you, Tsubame… Your imperfections kept you from rejoining us for so long, but NOW… your imperfections in your DNA will be the key to our salvation.” The thing seemed to laugh to itself, moving away. “Until then, I leave you another gift young one… while you’ll retain your pitiful humanity, you are welcome to call upon us at any time. We will be watching you.”
 
Magicia
 
 
“I also like this one. We kinda became friends of sorts.” She smirked again and gave Tsu a headpat – the type only reserved for the best and strongest of maids after a job well done – before standing up again. “We should get back to land. No point staying out here when there’s nothing left. It’s time for a new chapter of our lives.”
 
Tsubame
 
 
Tsubame grimaced as Magicia reached down towards them… only for a sigh of relief to escape them. They tried to stand back up but… stick could not. With a grimace, Tsu managed to turn to the creature in the boat…” If you don’t know how to drive this boat back to Consequence, I’m disowning you.”
 
The Thing In The Boat
 
 
The creature cackled, its horrible coagulated goo ofa form slowly forming into something solid… clawed little hands. “An adorable sentiment for a clone. For that, I’ll give you just one more favor.” And with that the creature set sail back to the world, cackling to itself. Hellifyno beware… they were coming.
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