The Darkness Within

The Lie - Act III

“It is sometimes an appropriate response to reality to go insane.”

Philip K. Dick

The world was twisting around me. I was in an alien, strange place that I couldn't recognize. I had just defeated the Immortal that had Akiza in a stranglehold; that had been deliberately targeting any weak point I had with words in an attempt to bring me down.

The floor underneath my feet was made of face-down cards, scattered and distorted. I could hear her voice in the distance, and I instinctually began walking towards it as a dull whine started in my ears.

I continued to walk, and the world kept twisting and turning. Everything was cards, standing tall before a vicious fire erupted out of nowhere and swallowed it all. And then, next to me, came a platform of cards. On it, I saw myself, holding a gun, and slowly raising it towards my head.

"Who are you, Jay?" I heard Akiza speak, as bandages over my eyes began to flash in and out of existence, and a wicked smile always came with the bandages, and left with them. "What kind of man are you?" The figure then turned towards me, then without the bandages and gave a wicked smile that reminded me all too much of Akron.

Then it disappeared, and I began to hear Akiza's voice more clearly in the distance. She was yelling "Jay! Jay, please save me! Jay!" And I sped up, walking even faster. I began to run across the floor of cards, the dull whine getting louder, and then other instruments began to play in my ear, bombastic and spectacular, but all strangely distorted.

I looked then to my right, and another platform of cards had appeared. On that was a dancer's pole sticking into the air, and Akiza was twisting her body and dancing along it. "The world is a diagonal," Akron's voice said, as Akiza momentarily became myself wearing bandages over my eyes, before flashing back to Akiza, and then to Akron again. "I am the balancing point." And then flames erupted along the cards, consuming the platform, and the figure of Akiza then vanished behind the flames.

I kept walking, Akiza's voice becoming more and more audible. I could hear her crying as I walked along the path of cards, and the figure of Star Eater appeared in the distance, up in the sky. Below it, I saw a platform, this one made of concrete rather than cards, and this one pictured young me and young Akiza talking through a crack in the concrete wall.

Momentarily, I would flash on bandages over my eyes, and when I did, Akiza would vanish as well. "You still think that promise is true?" Akron's voice echoed, as young me turned around, and he had the evilest smile in the world. "Everything you have fought for has been a lie!" And then Star Eater lowered its head and swallowed the platform whole, before fading into a storm of cards, and then vanishing into the distance.

Akiza's voice was beginning to become even more distorted as I began to approach a risen platform, stairs made of cards glowing white, and I saw the figure of the Darkstar sitting in a chair, with Akiza in a cage above him. I sped up, storming up the stairs and coming face-to face with my dark self.

He chuckled to himself as he slowly got up of the chair to meet my gaze. "You enjoying my sister's power, huh?" He said, as I felt my mark reacting in turn to his words. "She's making a hero out of you, eh?" He said mockingly as he spread out his arms. "You are so messed up, Jay. Come on, kill me." I said, hesitantly raising my arm which was glowing crimson with energy. I was hesitant, not knowing what to do. He quickly grabbed my hand and pushed it to his throat. "Come on, snap my neck! Let's go! KILL ME!"

I squeezed, and the world flashed before me. Then I stood alone on the platform, my arms glowing with force as I ran forth. The image of a titanic plant flashed in the background that I immediately recognized as an Earthbound Immortal roared at me, and I felt my mark flaring.

Then, images of my dark self, the form that the Darkstar had taken on came rushing at me; all having glowing hands as well, though theirs were glowing purple as well. One came at me, but I smacked him aside with ease, the form of him evaporating immediately afterwards.

"Men like us; we never get back the things we love." Blaze's words came back to me again as more and more fake images came rushing at me, and I beat them all back with vicious and violent strikes, sending them all flying away as I made my way towards the Immortal.

I fought my way along the path towards another platform in the distance right in front of the Immortal. I threw, smashed and dashed my way through the fakes and made my way to the platform. When I arrived, on a pedestal right in front of the Immortal hovered a single card. I looked at it and saw its name; Earthbound Immortal Arama Skyllis.

I reached out towards the card, but the moment I touched it, it flew into the air, and I looked at it as it soared into the air. Then, it evaporated into a cloud of darkness, and revealed the Dark Signer form of Akiza. She gave me a sad, pitiful look as she flew inside the Immortal, and it seemed to awaken, and pointed its eyes right at me, as its many tentacles began squirming around it.

The gigantic plant reared back, and sent one of its titanic tentacles right at me, attempting to slam me into submission and squash me. I jumped into the air, and felt my wings keep me hovering in the air. Then I looked into my hands, and I saw two glowing swords, their ornate blades aflame.

I looked the Immortal dead in its eye, and charged forwards. It flung its tentacles at me, but I swung like a madman with my swords, cutting the tentacles to pieces as I charged forwards, headed right for its head. It opened its maw and let loose a storm of petals, but I kept pressing on, evading the larger ones with ease as I neared the head, and it panicked.

It let loose a storm of tentacles, fireballs and rocks at me in a desperate attempt to try and stop me, but even as I felt my body taking damage, I kept flying. I kept heading towards my enemy, my determination to save the one I loved most not allowing me to stop, feel pain or fail. I kept rushing at it, even as the pain began to grow unbearable.

I then swiftly flew upwards, and raised up my swords. I then dived down towards the beast's head, my entire body glowing like crazy, the power heightening to the level of a god as I fell, and when I was close enough, swung my swords and sliced the beast's head clean off. It heard it scream in two voices, the voice of an evil demon hell-bent on destruction, and in the voice of Akiza at the same time.

"Looks like it's just you and me left now." And then my vision began flashing to white again. I felt my consciousness fading, and my body losing its strength as I began to fall into the abyss, only darkness surrounding me now.

"In the end, you'll always be alone…"

And then everything was black.

Then I was back in the ruins of the facility, the place where I had been tormented for years that had finally been torn apart and ruined, alone. I immediately turned towards where Akiza had stood, and I saw her there, looking like she normally did, no Dark Signer robe, no Dark Signer mark, no nothing. Just her.

She was slowly fading as she lay there on the ground, motionless. I rushed towards her, and cradled me in her arms as I tried to wake her up. "Akiza, wake up! Please, wake up! PLEASE!" I called out pleadingly, trying to wake her up as she began to fade away.

Then her eyes opened weakly. Her eyes turned towards me as I felt tears running down my cheeks as I tried to keep her awake. She gave me a look that made more and more tears drop as her lips turned into a weak smile.

"I… I loved you, Jay…" She said in a voice that was weak and almost inaudible, before she fully faded away and I was cradling the air. I grabbed out into the air in a feeble attempt to pull her back, but I was met with nothing.

The tears fell like a tidal stream as reality dawned upon me. I had… I had broken my promise. The one thing I had left… gone. Gone like… dust in the wind. Everything I lived for, all of it away in the blink of an eye.

My scream of despair and agony echoed through the entirety of the ruined city.

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