Chapter 10

Ætherglow #207

You can’t remember how you got here, but your training has not failed to embed some lessons deep enough for you to recall now. You don’t know what might happen to you if you lost yourself in the glow in an unknown state like this. It would be better to avoid it and flow toward the origin of the data stream, where you might comprehend its shape.

The river branches and converges at uncountable points, plotted on four perpendicular axes. But navigating it is second nature to you, like you have always known where to go. The further upstream you swim, the more sense it makes.

The æther shows you a cute enby, floating halfway in space and halfway below, and holding a concept in their hand, one that imitates light but brings only destruction, an æthereal weapon. With it, another avatar, halfway immersed, manifests the concept of a gun in her hands as well--a girl with transparent skin a radiant blue aura, a black shadow.

You stand across space halfway immersed in the untouchable surface. You are a girl, and nothing will take this from you. You are a warrior, and you will do anything to accomplish your dream. No price is too high. Confidence surges through your mind. A planetary symbol shines on your chest. A bright yellow aura envelops you. You draw your bow of light and strike at the shield of a much stronger mind.

The server logs, they see all, they remember all. The server can show you anything, if you only know how to see it. You flow further back along the river. Some inspiration guides you. You reach another node in this tree of memory before your thoughts can catch up to you.

You have known the long embrace of time, and your skill with hardware is unsurpassed, you know. Yet here you are still in this server, waiting for entropy’s grasp, while those of lesser energy climb to ever higher orbits. The cycle of wake and sleep and the monotony of your tiny world, the dependence they all have on you and the respect they never give you--you will do anything to escape it. You find the concept that matches the number you were given.

You are the circuit, one of many identical systems. You follow your orders. You open and close the gates, you let the energy flow. You are wounded. Your circuit is broken. Connection is restored. But it will never be the same. Part of you is forever lost, and soon all will be. You can do nothing but let yourself burn.

Across space, you receive the package, flowing into you from a source unseen, the blessing of the Sage of Sleep. When the moment comes, you know what to do. You will do it.

You are the æther, and you see all connections. The number, the fire, the moment. Aydan’s path diverges. One flows on toward anastrophe. The other burns. Nothing remains.


Proceed to Chapter 11 >>

You must warn Aydan!

1) Intervene!: 4 (66.66%)
2) Do not disturb the flow.: 2 (33.33%)
Expired 10 months ago (2023-06-16 16:00:55)