Viewing as Guest
Chapter 1: The End
Date Published: October 12th, 2014
Garden of Eternity
The Garden of Eternity was a vast expanse that knew no limits, the boundaries so far beyond the entrance that none could ever hope to find them. The grass was rich and swayed in the breeze that swept over the plains without pause. The night sky was scattered with stars that consisted of formations none could recognize.
The plant life within the garden was complex, many flowers that grew were obvious hybrid creations from unknown lineage. Some proved beautiful while others were obvious mistakes, and had become naught more than weeds in need of removal.
For most the Garden of Eternity would be a wonderful place to visit, a haven from the insanity within the labyrinth. Sadly that style of thinking would never come to me, this floor would instead turn into a memory of nightmares and promises.
I smiled gently as I held the love of my life, her body gently cradled in my arms while my eyes gazed into her face. She was beautiful to the point of making even a man jealous, and yet never had I once thought ill of that splendor. Instead the thought of cherishing and protecting had only ever come, and even when the truth made itself known not once did I turn away from her.
"Promise me," she whispered for the tenth time, her voice so quiet that the light breeze almost drowned it out. She reached up to my face and traced one finger down from my temple, then let it fall away to the ground.
"Of course, you know I won't ever let you down," was all I could say to her, as I watched her still. This was not a time for walking away, of separating, it was a time when I wished to hoard every second, every breath. "Anything you need Lute."
Luticia's eyes began to close as her head turned to the side, a bit of blood started to slip out of her mouth. "One story, please one more story," she requested of me.
So I told her a story, I told my soulmate the story of how everything had happened. From the date of my birth I recited what had happened, how growing up in the small town located on the first floor had taught me the harshness of reality. The difficulty of becoming more, surviving the ritual of the people by making it past the second floor alone.
The tale continued as I spoke of how I had met Lute, how her naked form bathing in a waterfall on the seventh floor had caught my eye and captured my heart. The fact that she had almost killed me, the comical way we had gone about our relationship to the point that onlookers often broke into laughter.
Then there was the story of how we had lost our friends during the savage lands of the mid levels, where the nastiest and most foul tempered of creatures roamed. Where we learned that our weapons and magic were only the first step to winning, that there was science and powers in the form of firearms.
As the story continued her body barely moved, Lute's chest rose up and fell in slower rates with every word. Yet she smiled as she listened to my words, her eyes welled up in tears when I recounted the death of her best friend Pierre.
"Then when we finally reached your home you had us fight to the death," I reminded her, though I did not go on from there. Instead it was all I could do to not stare at the sword that stuck out of her stomach at an awkward angle, one that easily pierced the heart of the Goddess.
"And you freed me," she said, quiet enough that I could never hope to hear it. A few more words were spoken, words that were spoken in a tongue that I knew to be her own special language. With all the strength she had left she lifted up her face to mine and kissed me once, on the lips with the gentleness that had so captured my soul. A hint of warmth spread from her into my body, a charge of energy which felt like nothing I had ever felt before.
"Goodbye," she said, before her body slumped over and she went still in my arms. There was no hope to hold back the tears, to stop the sobs that shook my body so hard that my wounds bled freely. There was nothing that I could ever hope to do but weep like a child in that moment.
The exact length of time that passed before I managed to get my sadness under control is and will always be an unknown, and so it was that when I stood up the feeling of pain had grown numb. The tingling that often came from the lack of blood flow no longer touched me, instead there was merely an emptiness across the whole of my body.
No longer could I hold Lute in my arms, the power to do so was gone while the blood continued to seep out from the many cuts across the body. My lacerated and torn body was ravaged to the point that anyone who saw would merely scream in horror, dear god how was it even possible that I still lived at that point?
So even as I tried to pick her up my body collapsed down onto the grass next to my beloved. Lute's eyes had closed, a content smile on her face while my own was wet with tears and colored crimson. It was punishment, this slow death that crept up on me and robbed the body of all feeling and power. It was a punishment that I would die while staring into the dead face of the one who had changed reality for me.
When the darkness swept over me there was only a momentary feeling of happiness, along with a strong regret. To not bury the woman you love was something that no man would ever want to have happen, especially since she had created the garden itself for the entire purpose of serving as her grave.
"If only," was the final thought I had before the grasp of death gripped my throat and dragged me away. Into the nether I was sent, forever to dance with the Devil for having killed the perfect woman.
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Or so one would think, as when next my eyes opened I realized that the world was not the same anymore. Above was a sun that had a strong drying sensation as though it wished to suck away all moisture from my body.
With a sigh I lifted my head up, before I realized that my body had changed drastically. The clothes were similar to what I had seen before in the past, a style which was favored by the Elves, the slave race. Lifting up my hands only proved the point that there had been a change, I was no longer a Human but something else, the thin fingers and pale skin only reconfirmed the presence of an Elf.
When I managed to stand up it was with a bit of difficulty, the sense of balance had shifted while the muscles felt completely alien. The way the arms and legs shifted and moved were no longer the same, long blond hair fell down in front of my face which only obscured my vision to the point of annoyance.
"What is this?" I asked, my voice so significantly different from before that at first the belief others were nearby came to me. With a twist I turned before realizing that nobody was there, that only my own voice had been heard.
What I saw around me sent a cold chill through my body, all about was a barren wasteland that offered no life beyond a helpless one. The soil was useless, the plants gone and the animals vacated. On the horizon there could be seen giant stone buildings, buildings that were where the people of Grantis lived.
In my clothes that marked me as one of the slave, with the body of an Elf and a muddled brain there was nothing more I could do than gape at the city. Grantis in my time had been a bit large, but in no way shape or form had it ever been to the girth of this place before me. The city had easily tripled in size, with some of the buildings almost double their previous height.
With little hope of knowing what else to do I could only start to walk toward Grantis, while I pulled on my grey cloak to try and hide away from the sun. The dark green shirt and black pants, along with cheap leather boots were all else I had on me. No money, no weapons and no hints.
I was back at the first floor, and yet everything had changed. Most would have given up at that point, others might have mentally broken and turned into monsters that tried to thrive on chaos.
There was no way I would be the same as those people, there was only a single purpose that remained. My need to make true on a promise. To bury the Goddess I had killed. Even if that meant doing something that no other had ever done before, something that to that point only I had accomplished.
Defeat the Labyrinth that had stood unbeaten for millennia.
"I'm coming, Lute."