There was no response to my calls. I wondered if Master was out back. I walked through the back door. There was a small garden out back that Master tended. It was well taken care of like usual but there was no sign of Master. I checked his bedroom and wandered through the hallways looking for him. I grew desperate as I ran outside and checked the shed. There was nobody here. I returned to the house worried and scared. Master rarely left this placed, maybe he had gone to purchase something, that seemed to be the most likely. I could wait for him but I didn’t know how long he would be. I sat down on of the the chairs near the entrance to wait for him.
Soon after I did however my cell phone began to rang. I wondered who it could be while I pulled it out and checked the front. It read “BLOCKED”. Very strange. I pressed answer and put my phone up to my ear.
“Hello?” I asked.
“Hey child.” Said the voice I had been hoping to hear.
“Master! Where are you? I come to your house but you are not here.” I could feel the relief of speaking to him. I had been worried when he was not here.
“I’m sorry for not being there. This call is all that I could manage. And I can not continue it for very long so we must talk quickly. Tell me child what your problem is.”
Maybe Master was off somewhere however how did he know that I would be at his house. “Something strange happened. I managed to stop Valarie but after I did that time reset and I was forced to try again. Then I tried again but this time I failed to beat here however time still reset once more. I wanted to know if you have any idea what is causing this?”
“There is something at work behind the scenes that is influencing everything. Whatever it is it has strength beyond even that of the Maiden of Destruction.”
“Something even power powerful than the Maiden of Destruction? Is that even possible?”
“Previously I would have have believed to do be so.” Said Master, “However I have felt the influence and your story about time reseting confirmed by suspicions. Unfortunately it seems that you are the only one who can truly remember what is happening. Even my mind is clouded. I could no help myself but let the house today so that I would not visit you. Even this phone call is stretching the limits of my ability.”
“No,” I said, “I am not the only one. I believe that the Maiden of Destruction also remembers.”
“Is that so,” came the pondering voice of my Master. “Then I have a new order for you. Your top mission is to find the source of this problem and eliminate it. Your mission to stop the Maiden will be on pause until then.”
“Yes Master. However I was hoping that you could help me. I do not think I defeat this foe alone.”
“I can not help you any more then this one call. After this you will not hear from me again, even if you return here after a future reset. The force that opposes us is very strong.”
“Please, can you at least give me a hint? Something to help me find a solution?”
“Whatever it is that is at work must have a purpose, some reason to continue reseting time. It must be trying to accomplish something, change time to suit its desire. You must stop it before it gets time to work like it wants.
“If something is controlling time then what does it desire?” I asked.
“There can only be one thing it is after.” Said my Master. However now there was thick static on the phone line and I could barely make out what he was saying.”
“One thing? What?” I asked desperately.
“The Maid…..” Then his voice cut out and my phone beeped and showed that it has been disconnected. But Master had given me the clue that I desired. Whatever was controlling time was after the Maiden of Destruction, maybe to use her power for some sinister purpose. I needed to stop it but I could not do it alone. I needed somebody on my side and I really only have two choices. I did not want to pick either of them…. But one of them remembered. I gritted my teeth, I would have to ask my enemy to help.
I placed my phone back in my pocket and the looked around the building once more. It seemed lonely without Master. If what he had said was true then I would not see or told to him again until this problem was solved. He had always made this place seem so lively even if that had just involved forcing me to train.
While I knew there was not much point to it I moved quietly back through the house. Now that I knew that he was not here I felt like was intruding. I made sure to lock all the doors I had opened and then left the house. It felt empty and hollow. I went back down the path and thought about my options while I waited at the bus stop for the next bus.
I wanted to protect him however I could because he didn’t remember anything. Sure he seemed to trust me right now but if there were any more resets then getting him to help me would be a major undertaking. I would instead have get get Valarie to help me. I needed to ensure that she really did remember. I didn’t want to rely on her and her cursed power but there didn’t seem to be many other options for me.
I tried to think through everything that had happened between the time resets. I needed to find a time when Valarie would be able to talk with me which meant I needed to remember where he was during all this time. All the times I had encountered Valarie during previous repeated I had been with him so I needed to figure out where Valarie was at other times. It was a difficult problem, had this been the first time I certainly wouldn’t have been able to have had a secret meeting with Valarie but with two timelines worth of memories I would be able to find a time.
He was however a wild card in the picture. In the last two resets and this time his actions were remarkably different. There were a few consistencies but where he was on any given days was unpredictable… well, not truly unpredictable, he spent a lot of time with either me or Valarie. Since it seemed that this time he had chosen me I would need to escape his notice. Today would have been perfect I had already spend most of the day getting that information from Master.
I continued to ponder the problem while I got on the bus and took the route back to the town. By the time I had returned I decided that it would have to be a night visit to Valarie. Everything was too difficult to judge to find another time. Valarie lived with her father so I would need to sneak in and confront her there. I had considered it was an attack strategy before but it would have been too flashy and there would be too much collateral damage but if I was just going to talk with her then it would be fine.
I was walking back from the bus stop when it happened again. That strange but familiar feeling of vertigo and everything around me shifted and changed. I was sitting back with him. We were sitting on the bench on the roof of my apartment complex. This is where we had been sitting earlier today when I had been speaking to him. I panicked slightly trying to figure out why this had happened. Time had reset again but this time it hadn’t been all the way back.
My daze was broken when he spoke to me. It was different this time, something had changed, but his expression was still the same as always. I could see that he hadn’t noticed anything wrong. “Wait, don’t go yet.” He said, “There is a festival tomorrow.”
I hadn’t realized that I had been standing up but I must had done it instinctively in my panic. He continued, “I was hoping if you would join me then.” I remembered the festival. We had attended together that first time. It was a moment of happiness, something short before we went to fight the Maiden of Destruction. That festival was one of the happiest moments of my life.
He was inviting me once more to join him. I blushed and nodded before wordlessly turning away and running to the stairs down from the room. It had been similar to my reaction last time, I wanted to say that my full heart was in it this time but I knew that was not true. While I wanted to go once more with him but I really wanted if for him to remember, what use is happy memories if they will be washed out by the end of the week.
I was a few flights down when my phone buzzed. I pulled it out and there was a text from him, ‘A date then. I’ll pick you up at 5pm’. Just like last time. Despite his unpredictability some of the things he did were identical. I was still bewildered by the time change again but this had given me a perfect moment. I could go meet Valarie even though I had already gone and spoken with Master. I paused, Master, if what he said was right then he might not remember my talk with him and even if I tried calling him he would not respond.
It would have made me sad if I had any more sadness left to feel. If I was going to solve this problem I was going to have to bury my emotions. My happiness, sadness, anger, all of it. It was becoming too much to bare. The weight become such that I almost collapsed in the stairway. I sunk to my knees and I could feel the pain welling up inside me. If I solved this then what would happen? Would things return to normal? What would normal be? If I did it wrong then Valarie would win and the world would be doomed but I had to use her to help me.
There was then the painful thought, almost too much for me to hold in, that I would be happier if these resets just continued forever. He could stay with me, if not always at least sometimes and everybody could live happily. If things kept repeating then both me and Valarie could have our moment of happiness and the world would not be doomed.
I used all the strength I could muster to pull myself to my feet. That illusion was enticing but I knew it could not be. The repeats would eventually stop. Master had convinced me of it. Eventually the force causing the resets would get what it wanted and that ending would probably be even worse then the fate that could be caused if Valarie won.
By the time I reached to bottom floor I had found my resolve. It was small but I clung to it with all the will I could muster because without it I would be dragged away into the ocean of regrets. I knew where she would be right now and if I reached her soon enough I would be able to corner her. This would be my most difficult battle. The one where I had to get my enemy to help me but when this problem was solved I need to be the one winning the next battle because that one would be completely final.