I could not stand the pain. Worse then the pain of my broken body was my broken heart. I lay there on my back with my head angled backwards and I could still see them. If I could move my head I would do so no matter the pain. Seeing them together made me wish for death to come sooner.
Why? What had I done wrong? I had spoken like I remembered it, tried to make him trust me, but it was to no avail. Then things changed, everything was different. He was instead with her, my her side, not mine. I struggled, tried everything I could think of, appealed to him with all my heart but still he had denied me. It felt like everything that had connected us was gone, erased like a dream. She had stolen him away from me and there had been nothing I could do about it.
His presence by her side had strengthen her and weakened me. He gave me hope several times but each time he pulled it away and abandoned me. By the end he felt like a stranger to me, a stranger that held my heart in his hands and then ripped in in half. When they beat me and cast me aside for true I was thankful. Death would be far kinder than seeing them together for any longer.
My blood seeped out of my body and my vision faded as I reached out my hand one last time to him, hoping that he would give me one final glance. Then it was over….
Yet the torture had not truly even begun. I breathed once more, awoke again, with the light of the morning sun peeking through my window. I pulled up my legs and grabbed them with my arms. There where tears in my eyes, painful tears. Was it hope or terror that I felt? Both existed in my in equal measure. Would I see him again today? Certainly so. Would he remember? Last time he didn’t and this time I desperately hoped he would not.
I shuddered harder, who would he choose this time? Me…. Or her. I managed to pull myself out of bed and looked at myself in the mirror. My face was smudged with tears and I tried to wipe them away as best as I could. Maybe this time I could convince him, if I could earn his trust then I could tell him about this. I had done it once, I should be able to do it again. Just because I failed once didn’t meant that I shouldn’t try again.
And if I failed again…. Would I get another try? I didn’t want to think about it. I would definitely succeed this time but I still had some uncertainties. Last time I had tried to remember what I said the first time but I must have gotten something wrong, did I remember correctly. I was even less certain now that I correctly remembered everything. Which part had I gotten wrong last time? I didn’t know. I would just have to tried my hardest and show him the truth.
I wiped the tears from my eyes once more and began to get dressed. I remembered the set of clothes that I wore. It wasn’t the most glamorous of clothing, I certainly owned prettier things, but it was the set that I wore the first time. If I tried something else then who knows what might happen.
I went through all the different things I did before I met him. When the time was right I then heard those fated words once more.
“Could you help me? I seemed to have become lost.”
I hesitated for a moment before turning toward him. Those eyes stared right back at him with that same expression that I remember from the last time. He did not recognize me.
“Lost? How could you possibly become lost?” I stepped forward and looked him up and down exactly like I did before. After having become close to him this aloof persona felt strange an awkward. “Hmm, I don’t remember seeing you around before. Are you a tourist? We don’t get many of them.”
He placed his hand behind his head like before and laughed soft, “No, actually I just moved to this town. I haven’t been here very long so I don’t know this place. I had a guide but I seemed to have become separated.”
It was just a tip, our first contact. A meeting of coincidence, or more likely of Fate. We talked and walked through town for a few happy minutes but I knew what was going to happen yet. Soon she would arrive, his original guide, and my most hated enemy.
She stumbled into view exactly when I remembered she should. She was clumsy, she had always been like that. She climbed back to her feet and brushed the dirt off her stockings. She saw him and smiled, “Oh, there you are. I was looking all over for you.” Then like before she saw me and our eyes locked.
This time however it was different. I saw something in those eyes, an uncertainty, worry. It was something that I hadn’t seen the last time. It was then I knew that she too remembered. She had that strange uncertainty that I had had last time where everything was torn away from me and I was desperately fighting to return things to how things were before.
It seemed our battle was not over, this time a new battle, one where we both had an idea of how it could end. However I could not afford to lose, this time more than ever. So like the previous times I opened my mouth and spoke her name with the most venom that I could muster, “Valarie, what are you doing here?”
Lyle had managed to get a good ending with Valarie. He felt however that he had been on the edge of getting a bad ending. Yiskah had been much more of a problem that game then she had been previously. He had pondered his options for trying to reveal one of the secret endings.
He had trouble reconciling the relationships between Valarie and Yiskah. Part of the problem was Valarie’s cursed power. It was incompatible with having a truly happy ending. From a logical perspective it was pretty easy to say that Yiskah was correct, that stopping Valarie, which would end in her death, was the morally right course of action. However a human’s emotions are easily swayed, Valarie’s plight can be sympathized with.
If Lyle had to make an educated guess, and he was pretty good at those for these types of games, there would probably be two secret endings. One is if he could convince Yiskah to cast off her ideals and become willing to sacrifice the world to side with him and Valarie. He was beginning to see the outside for this path. It would be a difficult route with even one mistaken dialog choice leading to an exceptionally bad ending.
The other option would be to find a curse for Valarie’s power. That would lead to a happy ending, if a little less interesting. That route however was clouded in his mind. There had been a couple of lines providing clues about her power but the core of the solution was still beyond his grasp. It likely required sequence breaking and a lot of meta information, something very unlikely to be discovered by pure chance.
He would need to do a special run just to learn the secrets that he would need to know for the new run. Then her would be able to start the real run. It would probably be the first time he actually had to significantly take advantage of the saved games so that he could correctly pilot the plot to the end of the story I desired. There would still be a lot of work ahead of him but he was up to the challenge. He didn’t know how long it would actually take him but he expected that it would take most of the rest of the month to find the ending.
What cruel fate it was that compelled us. I sat with him again, however things were different. I felt like I could trust him again but my heart was still in broken splinters. I still felt that I loved him but I no longer knew if it was this him that I loved. Everything we had been through the first time felt like something I had done with a different person, he didn’t remember it. If I told him I felt that he would help but what then? Would we be able to solve the problem, continue time? Or would everything reset once more with me having to earn his trust once more.
I sat there with him, tears in my eyes, before I eventually decided not to tell him. Not telling was painful but the thought of what would happen if forgot our connection again was even worse. However I couldn’t just let time repeat again and again. I had to figure out what was causing it.
I had thought Valarie was the cause at one point. She was the Maiden of Destruction, my ultimate enemy, but when I had seen her eyes I knew that she could not be the cause. Still I could not trust her because I would be forced to kill her eventually. I had only one other person I could turn to to help me.
I finished speaking with him, keeping him on my side. I would need his help when I found the cause of the problem. I would need him by my side. Once he was gone I walked down the street alone for a while. I remembered what I had done the first time but at the moment it didn’t feel important. I needed to visit my Master.
He would not appreciate my visit, I was only supposed to return once I had dealt with the Maiden of Destruction. He had tasked me with that difficult task, the thing he had trained me for years to be able to do. I had always know that he had an important task that he needed me to complete but I had not known how difficult it would be, or what it would entail… or that my enemy would be my childhood friend.
It waited at the bus stop until it arrived and then began the trip. The place I was heading to was a couple hours away. I had not made this trip at all after meeting him so I did not know if it would interfere with anything. My Master never showed up before the reset and I had never made an afterward report because the reset happened. I tried figuring out what I would tell him when I got there, could I explain what was happening successfully? I didn’t know but it was the best shot that I had.
I was restless the whole trip and when I finally arrived I could feel the tension in my body. The bus stop was basically in the middle of nowhere. I few people lived out here, this far from the town. Even after the bus drive it still took my around ten minutes of walking to get to the path that lead to Master’s house. There was a set of stairs leading up and I followed them until I eventually reached the old house. It was ill kept as usually. Even when I lived here it was like this. The place had many memories for me and I was nervous to come back here.
It knocked at the door and when there was no response I pulled out my keys and unlocked the door. I entered the house and called out, “Master? Are you there? I have something important to ask you about.”