The Darkness Within

The Confession - Act II

“Life is pain, highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.”

-William Goldman

Darkness was everywhere. Everywhere I looked, was completely black. Not a speck of light. It really did seem like I was in the void. I had played Rekindling Memories, and… that was it. Everything went dark when I did.

Akron said that it 'Would make her understand', in some way. But how? I didn't know. For all I knew, he could have been tricking me into spelling my own doom for us both, and that kind of would make sense.

I started walking. My boots' metal attachments were gone now, as I had taken them off myself a few weeks ago. They were simply impractical to have.

Suddenly, I saw a flash of light. All I could see was white. I was blinded completely; and before I knew it, I was standing in a room. This wasn't a room in the twin's penthouse; it was a room in a house. It was night, and the moon was full in the sky.

It was a cloudless night; the stars were visible and prominent and sparkled like gems in the black sky. I could feel the fresh air gently flowing in from an open window. It chilled my bones, but in a nice way. Like a gentle breeze cooling my head down, and allowing me to think clearly.

As I stood there, a noise startled me. It was the sound of crying. A little girl crying. I looked to my left, and saw something that nearly froze me in place.

On a bed to my left, sat a little girl, her head buried in her hands; crying loudly. What really caught my eye was the glowing mark on her arm. A crimson mark, the shape of a dragon's claw. Is that… Is that her mark?!

"Yessir," The voice of a small girl spoke behind me, and I nearly toppled over. I quickly got my bearings, and turned towards the voice.

The voice came from another little girl with crimson hair, wearing a big, red, wizard's hat, red clothing and she carried a basket filled with flowers. "Who are you?" I quickly asked.

"You don't recognize me, sir?" The little girl chirped, as she pulled out a flower from her basket, and sniffed it. This was getting kind of awkward.

"No, I'm… I'm afraid I don't." I stuttered, confused over whatever was happening at the time. Where had she come from? What was she talking about? I didn't-

"Silly, it's me! Gatherer!" My thoughts came to a screeching halt as I heard her say this. I quickly began putting two and two together, and- it couldn't be!

"…What?! As in, my card?" I thought out loud, and the little girl quickly confirmed my theory.

"Yessir! That's me!" She quickly replied, letting out a soft giggle.

"Bet ya didn't expect that to happen, did ya?" She giggled again, and began jumping around the room with unreal agility and energy. She was like a child on sugar, and she never seemed to run out of energy.

"No, I… I really didn't." I stuttered, a slight blush of embarrassment tinging my cheeks. "Right, so you're… my card's spirit or whatever. Could you explain what is going on?" I asked, and Gatherer hopped down from the table and in front of me.

"Awright. You do remember when you played that card? Y'know, Rekindling Memories? Well, this is thanks to that card. The others said that I should be your guide through Akiza's past, so you can understand what's she's been through." Gatherer answered, with a sugar-sweet smile adorning her lips.

"Alright…" I spoke slowly, my brain still trying to make sense of the situation. "So, why exactly was it you who should guide me?" I asked, still kind of confused.

"Well, they thought that it would be easier for you to adjust to," Gatherer replied. "Cause ya'know, some of the peeps ain't as easy on the eyes as I am!" Gatherer said snarkily, giggling as she hopped into the air, and positioned herself on my shoulder.

"Well, shall we get going? We've got plenty of time though, so if there's anything else you wanna ask, then go right ahead," The little girl continued. I was baffled, but I quickly regained my composure.

"So, is that who I think it is?" I asked her, and she looked at me in confusion. In response, I raised my arm, and pointed to the other crying girl, who sat on her bed, a crimson mark glowing on her arm, who strangely hadn't noticed us yet.

"Yessir. It's Akiza, although it's her as a lil' girl like myself."

"So, you're here to guide me through her memories?"

"Yessir. It'll seem real, but they won't know we're here, 'cause we weren't."

"…Alright. Well, shall we begin?"

"We shall. Let's start at the beginning, shall we?" Gatherer spoke, and threw a wad of flowers into my face, that obscured my vision completely. By instinct, I flailed about with my hands to try and regain sight.

Eventually, the flowers went away, and I was back in the same room I was in before. I heard a loud 'THUD', like something had been thrown into a wall with incredible force, like when I badly hurt one of my opponents back when I was with Arcadia.

"-You're not my daughter! You're a monster!"

Throughout the journey, Gatherer had been mostly silent, allowing me to take in just what Akiza had been through. She had been practically thrown away by her parents, those she loved the most, and sent off to Duel Academy, which turned out to be just another hell for her to endure.

Then I had seen how she met Sayer… even after I killed him, after I vaporized him and all of his lies, he still haunted me. His face still made me shiver, and I swear, when I saw him, he looked right at me as if he could see me.

It was disorienting; he was gone, why did he continue to plague me? The lies he had fed the girl I loved had birthed a monster, and I could see throughout her past just how easy it was for him to manipulate her.

And even though I had ended him; his memory still lingered, trying to take from me what I loved.

And now came the difficult part. I had seen what she had been through, now it was her turn to see what I had been through, so that she could maybe understand why I did what I did.

Gatherer had only smiled when I asked her how I was supposed to convince her, and handed me a small blue tear-shaped locket. I asked her why, but she just smiled and said that I might need it in the future. 'It'll come by itself,' she said, before vanishing in a flurry of flowers, and leaving me back in the white expanse.

I turned around, and there she was, lying on the white floor, seemingly asleep. I breathed in deep, and coughed loudly. It was enough to wake her up; and her eyes fluttered open, confusion evident in her lenses.

"You're awake," I said, and reaching out my hand. "I believe it's high time I give you some answers, isn't it?"

She took my hand, and I pulled her up. She was as light as I remembered, but I could feel strength behind her muscles. "Yes it is," she replied.

"So, what is this place?" Akiza questioned. "I'm not so sure myself," I replied smoothly, "But come with me, and I'll show you something."

I pulled out the small tear-shaped locket that Gatherer gave me, and it immediately began to shine a blinding light. Akiza quickly covered her eyes to shield herself from the light, but I didn't need to, as the floor; walls and roof changed, and turned into something far too familiar.

They turned into gray, soulless concrete, and quickly, the other tidbits began to appear. The mass of broken glass; the machinery, and the… bodies, covered in their own blood.

Akiza recoiled in horror as she removed her hands from her eyes, and saw the aftermath of the carnage that had happened here before. "Jay, what- what is this place?" She stuttered, confusion and dread evident in her voice.

"This is where I woke up," I said, gesturing to behind us. Lying face-up on his back on the concrete was me, dressed in a white gown, eyes closed, unconscious.

"That's you?" She questioned, and walked over to try and touch me, but her hand went right through this image of me, like a knife through water. "We can't be seen by anyone here," I replied. "-And we cannot interact. Only observe."

"So, you're showing me your memories? Why?"

I turned around to face her, and smiled. "Maybe this way, you can understand why I did what I did."

She didn't answer. But just from a look in her eyes, I could see that she was fighting several emotions at once. She was having trouble getting to process all this.

"Let's fast forward a bit." I said, and the area quicky changed from the concrete building from before, to the cell I was thrown in at the Facility.

"I've been meaning to ask you, Jay. I guessed that you had been in the Facility, but what I didn't get was why your mark is black, instead of yellow." Akiza asked, curiosity tainting her voice.

"The mark I was given is the mark of a person on death row." Akiza recoiled quickly, and put a hand over her mouth. She really didn't want to hear that.

"There's only one reason I'm still alive, and I think you know exactly who I'm talking about."


"Yes. He came to visit me, and offered me a way out. He would get me out of the Facility, and in exchange; I would join Arcadia.

It seemed like a great decision; escape from death, and go somewhere where people wouldn't judge me for who I was."

"Something wasn't right?"

"There always is. I thought that he would try and help me with taming my anger. But all he actually wanted was to grow it, until it was all I knew; and I would become just a weapon he could use."

"Then how do I fit in?"

"Because he was trying to do the exact same thing to you." Akiza gasped, and she was clearly shocked. She couldn't believe that Sayer, the one she only really trusted; actually only wanted to use her.

This time; she didn't try to kill me. So that's an improvement.

"I was beginning to become a problem to him. So to keep me in line; he had you put that collar around my neck."

"You knew?"

"It was only logical. By the way, what did Sayer tell you that it was?"

"He told me that it was simply to track your movements."

"Well it wasn't. Built in; was a powerful electric shocker, which Sayer would use to keep me in line, like a puppy."

"Then, he tried to make me give in to my anger by executing a 'traitor' to the Movement. I refused, and you know the rest. He chained the two of us up, and used you to try and make me submit. I refused, and I thought I could control myself; but when I heard you scream… I lost it."


"Because I love you. Just like I told you before. I'm sorry."

Tears were dripping down onto the floor, both mine and hers. I had finally come clean; no messing around. I had beared my heart to the girl I loved; and now all I could do was close my eyes and prepare myself for a monumental slap.

That didn't come.

Instead, I felt something wonderful. Something I had never in my life had felt; true, unspoiled bliss.

I felt her lips upon mine.

It was paradise.

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