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The Meh

THE UNITY SERIES | Intuition: A Zombies Story

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Hello, CoDz.

 

So, it's almost weird that about a week ago I posted Citadel. Not to gush about it or anything, but that has got to be one of the best, most involved, cinematic and overall great map I've done in a long time... but again, I'm basically gushing here, and it makes me sound overzealous.

 

Anyways, that's not why I'm posting this. I've just released Citadel, and the oddity here is that I'm already posting something in The Unity Series. Odd, right?

 

Not entirely, actually. The reality of the matter is that, with the project that would come after Citadel, I just didn't feel that the map concept for it would work as a... well, a map. Henceforth, I decided that it would be best that I take the next particular portion of The Unity Series story and take it to literary form. Essentially an actual cohesive (but not 500 pages long) story.


The idea, within itself, is risky, I know. But I have the courage to go ahead and just do it... and, in retrospective to it, perhaps it won't fail and fall through like... certain projects... yeah, talking to you, Chains of Humanity.

...not that I didn't like writing Chains of Humanity. I just thought that it got boring, and people would get bored reading it.

 

Anyways, since I'm speaking of Chains of Humanity, I may as well mention that Intuition will be written like I wrote multi-chapter arcs for Chains of Humanity... which, for those who wouldn't know what I mean... I basically make the initial OP and have a Table of Contents at the top for each chapter, then update it as time goes on with an update to the post through a reply, that is basically the next chapter of the story itself. I found that method of chapter progression to work well. In the case for chapters after it... well, we'll have to see what becomes of it.

 

I'm doing something very risky by changing how I have created The Unity Series since the beginning... sort of... but I hope that everybody that's read my maps before understands that and still appreciates it for what it is.
...that, and those that do read it should prepare themselves, because the next two maps after it are very ambitious - and risky - for what they are. They're also the last two in the series, so... yeah. You guys know me - I like to go out with a bang. (Literal or not? You decide!)

 

Anyways, I would hate to drone on longer about the inner mechanisms of this - I tend to leave the whole "inner mechanisms of stuff" thing for The Unity Series' narrative anyways... since that's what I love to do.

 

The Table of Contents will be below.

With that... I wish you well.

 

Per aspera ad astra,
-The Meh

 

----------------------------

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

 

Preface: "Auras Incertum" (literally, you just read it)

Prologue: "Drift"
Chapter 1: "The Pillars of Creation"
Chapter 2: "Will"
Chapter 3: "Training Fodder"
Chapter 4: "Fear of The Epsilon"
Chapter 5:
"Eye on the Darkness"
Chapter 6: "Convergence"
Chapter 7: "Preparation of Prospect"
Chapter 8: "Branches"

Epilogue: "Conversations With Yourself"

 

Intuition: "L'edizione Prospettiva"

(basically the same as Director's Cut - this will be on the main Unity Series post as well when it comes out)

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Before I post the Prologue, I figure I should state a particular fact:


This is canon to The Unity Series story. I figured that would be... well, very obvious... but still.

In any case, 'Intuition" is the events following Citadel, to which precede the next map. This pretty much ties together everything and everything pretty much will make sense as it goes along. Large-scale... just think of it as "Chapter IV" of The Unity Series. (Speaking of... I honestly have GOT to fix up the titles of each post to reflect that. Will do soon enough.

 

Anyways, shouldn't be too long now. Per aspera ad astra!

-The Meh

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Alright, well, I should be complacent. I apologize HEAVILY for my radiosilence in regards towards Intuition. It certainly was not intentional.

 

Honestly, I've been rather busy... in real life. Yep, I have a life, how shocking. Mostly has to do with wrapping up school and getting ready for Graduation. While I'm at the last end of all of it, there is still a lot I will be doing, so... I can't say for certain I can be around too much for that.

 

Not to mention, I use a school laptop right now, and I have to hand this in around the upcoming week. So, that factors in as well.

 

But, no worries. I want to deliver something good before I fall back into silence.

...however long my radiosilence to come will last.

Could be a while...

 

Sorry to be a downer.

Anyways, I'm going to try to get some of Intuition out soon. I want to give a timeframe of "in the next few days", but I don't want to make any empty promises if I cannot find the time. So... yeah. Just keep an eye out for it - I'll do my best to get it out for those that still follow this.

 

Per aspera ad astra,

-The Meh

Edited by The Meh

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UPDATE (10/17/17):

 

It's been a while since I posted in regards to progress on Intuition - with fair reason, given - and I feel I should justify a couple of changes:

 

       1.) I'm considering changing chapter names. This may not stick, but I'm saying this now so I can give myself that lenience to actually do it.

       2.) I'm still writing. I've been busy. I know where this is going to go, but I need free time. Whereas, I'm not exactly getting that.

       3.) Chances are, I'll be posting this either all at once, or it will all be done and I'll post it over time.

 

I already feel at a disservice enough for not getting something out sooner, though, so... maybe I can give you guys something soon. Stay frosty?

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Prologue:Drift”

 

The trial. The test. The gateway. The fire and brimstone. The darkness. The fall. The blinding white light.

All pass by as memories between the crew. The revelation of their fate has borne its seeds within them, and they know that. Gliding through the ebb and flow of space, they recollect on the events preceding them.

 

Before the journey through the Citadel, Adam had faced his own form of regret. He had wished that he could have chosen a different path in life, that he could have just told his family that he did not want to follow in their military idealism, yet he could not muster this courage. In trial, he realized his lack of courage was not without reason… and yet, just the same, a part of him felt he could have told them off.
Adam comes back to reality, hearing the flapping sounds of his and his group’s angelic Wings, which, compared to the Citadel’s, were flesh and bone. Looking to his right hand, he looks over the bull, Taurus, that now is embedded as a mark in his skin. To his left, he sees Jeanne, looking back to the stars that flow like stones in the water down below them. In this, he realizes that this was the fate that was set before him. He was always meant to carry on this torch, this lifestyle. He was meant to be a pure embodiment of the human strengths, and bravery. Not for the future of his family name, but for the entirety of Earth. It is this notion that he holds dearest. With his newfound confidence, he glides forward.

 

Jeanne watches as Adam flies past her, catching up to the Prophets’ close trail. An elegance grows as she feels the heavy weightlessness around her. She remembers the visions that beset her mind and wrought her inner pain. In her recollection, she saw herself throw away the lifestyle she wanted to adopt, realizing the will within her. She understands that, confided in her, she has the power to move worlds… renew them, maybe. The Eye of Horus, imprinted to her hand, stares back at her as she glances at its intense effervescence. Waving her hand around, she sees each forceful push around it. Slightly, and yet so beautiful in person. Looking ahead, Jeanne sees Adam conversing with one of the Prophets… the one they call Thomas. Jeanne then decides to glide ahead.

 

Vladimir and Alex both had been attempting to converse throughout the entirety of flight, yet the sheer feeling of flight itself had taken them. Flying to the others, Alex audibly can be heard, enjoying himself as he spins across the stars. Vladimir, sticking slightly further back, chuckles at Alex’s excitement.

 

The group then soon stops. The Prophets stare forward at the nebulae that is the Pillars of Creation.

 

Vladimir looks, in awe. “I… it’s-”

Thomas interjects. “More beautiful in person?”

Vladimir nods.

Thomas chuckles at the response. “Yes, we thought so too. “He” picked quite the surreal location to hide away from outside forces.”

 

Jeanne floats forward slightly. “You guys keep saying “He”. Not that I don’t admire this innate sense of confusion, but do you mind telling us who “He” may be?”

 

A momentary silence, and then the Prophets begin to laugh.

“Oh, you are something, Jeanne,” Stacey says, “but you should know.”

 

The Angels look to each other, all of which are confused. David, seeing this, interjects. “Maybe you don’t exactly see it the way we do… look at the Pillars again.”

 

The Angels look to the Pillars, and are shocked to find the Pillars are something more. An almost splendorous marble temple, larger than life, appears amid the view of the Pillars behind it. Almost immediately after this, they seem to find themselves at the large doorway into its depths.

 

The Prophets had disappeared from their sight, and the Angels were worried on what to do next. Then, the door ahead creaks open, and… Vincent, in a corporeal form, pops his head outside of it.

 

“Well, don’t just stand there! Welcome… to the Pillars of Creation!”

 

//

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Chapter 1: “The Pillars of Creation”

 

[WRITER’S NOTE: This is a disclaimer about something that I should probably mention before I see anything said about it… so, figuring out Latin for these kinds of things can be bad at times. Considering the use of Latin heavily within the corridors of the Pillars, I figure I should warn that I’m not entirely positive of its accuracy. Else than that, though... enjoy the chapter. I'll elaborate more on this issue in a comment after this is posted.]

 

===================

 

The Angels find themselves awestruck by the architecture before them. Marble columns make up the infrastructure of the expansive hallway before them, the ground below shining from its red and beige hues and patterns and the ceiling seeming to be almost infinite in its height. Small trees, bushes and ferns dot the area surrounding the large marble pillars, with stone benches and fountains lining the walls to their sides. The area itself feels almost reminiscent of Greek and Roman architecture, but they know it to be so much more than that.

 

Four hallways dot the walls beside them, two on each side, with names above them - “Lux Hortus”, “Ramus Potestatem”, “Gratia Somnium”, and “Vapor Serenitatem”, - likely regarding certain areas around the actual place. Perhaps, the most ominous of which, would be the one in direct sight of them, titled “Sanctum Dei”. Below this room’s title, it also says, “Per aspera ad astra, nos vivere et spirare hic vi aeterne in quibus et nos texant.

 

“It’s quite something, isn’t it?” Stacey starts, appearing instantly in front of them, her usual hazel hue - akin to the other Prophets - now absent, leaving her to a human form. “I assume you have many questions.”

 

Obligant to her words, Alex slowly steps forward. Glancing just about everywhere at once, noting everything around, he begins to speak. “I… think it would be safe to assume we all are wondering how this place is even possible,” Alex says, glancing to the others, who nod in approval of his words, “So… yeah. How exactly does this place… exist?”

 

Stacey smirks, chuckling somewhat under her breath.

“To be honest, I was assuming you would ask something… different… ah, doesn’t matter. If you want the more simplistic explanation… you are standing in a plane that rests itself within a barrier between existence and non-existence.” Stacey begins to slowly twist herself in a circle, waving her hands to show the area around them. ”The Pillars act almost like a doorway - the actual plane itself is more of a… mosaic, perhaps. Imagine, if you may, a cup of sugar, diluted into water. Its form changes when reaching that which causes it to recreate itself.”

 

Stacey faces the Angels again, staring deep into their inquisitive eyes. “Humans don’t know this place - they can’t comprehend it. All of us, though? We have essentially transcended, and therefore travel between is simple. You see that which the brighter universe cannot, and that makes you very special in its will.”

 

Jeanne interjects. “How are we special, though? You could have likely picked anyone else in our place -”

 

“- and yet nobody would have done exactly what you have.” Stacey continues from this statement. “I find it fascinating that you don’t already see it, Jeanne! You would have loved it any other way, I’m certain. You would have probably been content with your death, but the universe would not have been. The universe kept calling you, all of you, telling you, urging you to move forward. It cannot live without the gears that make it as special as it is. Listen to the universe, listen to it cry out for solace! The universe needs you… and, we searched for you, for a very… VERY… long time. So… at best, I believe you should look at this in retrospect… think on your words and actions.”

 

Stacey turns around, walking further towards Sanctum Dei. Vincent appears next, at a column behind them. “Don’t let her get to you too much. As true as her statement was, it wasn’t supposed to be as abrasive as it was.” Vincent smirks. “She’s just… worried, is all.”

 

Vincent walks ahead, then waves his hands over, urging them to follow. “Well, I don’t see any reason we should keep “Him” waiting too long. Follow me, alright? You need to meet “Him”.”

 

Standing at the door of Sanctum Dei, Vincent tries to open the door, only to find it unmoved. Relatively agitated, Vincent knocks. “Hey! Thomas, what’s the deal? This door’s never locked!”

 

An echo of Thomas’s voice reaches through the corridor. “Yeah, sorry! That’d be Stacey. Just a bit of a security measure on her part, I suppose… it’ll just be a minute.”

 

Vincent shrugs. “Ah, hell. Well, take your time then, Thomas. Believe me - we’ve got all day.”

 

Vincent looks to the Angels, showing a condescending smile after a moment’s notice. “Great stuff, right? Not exactly sure why Stacey’s concerned, if I’m to be honest with you… although, she pretty much is what keeps the group together and working well, for us. She’s had the most time with “Him”, getting to know the most on the dangers to come. She knows more about the future than she lets off, but… in any case, I’m sure it’s for a good reason.”

 

Vincent glances towards Adam, who is farther behind the rest of the group, looking around the room. “Hey, Adam, what’s your deal? Still in awe of this place or something?”

 

Adam turns. “What? Oh, yeah… for a place that doesn’t exist, it certainly looks accommodating.”

 

Vincent grins. “Ha! Yeah. If you think that’s impressive, you should see the Gardens, down the hallway labeled Lux Hortus. Pretty amazing stuff. Also, Vapor Serenitatem might be to your interest, but… I’ll leave that up to you.”

 

A screeching sound shouts through the corridor, as the doors to Sanctum Dei begin opening.

 

“Ah, took long enough.” Vincent states, turning towards the entrance. “Great stuff, Thomas, thanks! Anywho…”

Vincent turns, quickly, and with a smile, looks to the Angels as the end of the hallway ahead of them begins to shine with a bright light.

 

“Welcome to Sanctum Dei, the birthplace of all causality, the epicenter of all creation! Follow me - it’s time you meet your maker.”

 

//

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So, I said I would go to talk about that Writer's Note a bit, from Chapter 1, and I intend to do so now.

 

Basically, what happened was that I went to get these Latin words/phrases stitched together... and, given my lack of expertise on the matter, and no other website at my disposal, Google Translate was my only real option. Most of the parts that are in Latin do work, and are pretty much 90% in translation, but, I'm not entirely sure at the same time. The line below "Sanctum Dei" is the worst of it and probably won't translate correct, as the exact translation I want for it just isn't there. I ended up fragmenting it into parts so it would work, and it seemed so sloppy.

 

For sensible and understandable purposes, I'll translate the Latin for you. Or, I'll give you what I have in terms of it, and show what the original wording was for it. This will be in "L'edizione Prospettiva" as well in the form of the usual comments, but... I'll leave the judgement calls to you guys.

 

Lux Hortus - "Light Garden". I can't exactly tell you its purpose past it being a "garden". It will be important later, so... yeah, moving on.

 

Ramus Potestatem - "Power Branch", or, if you will "Branch of Power". Intended to be a training room, and will be coming up as important in the next couple of chapters.

 

Gratia Somnium - "Grace Dream". Sounds odd, I get it. It's essentially like a "bedroom" of sorts. A resting area. Even they need time to rest.

 

Vapor Serenitatem - "Steam Serenity". While also a type of relaxation area (for obvious reasons, aka hot springs and such), this area is essentially their bathing area. (Nope, they can't wish their dirtiness away and it be gone like that.

 

Sanctum Dei - "Holy God". This actually translates 100% correctly.

 

And...

 

"Per aspera ad astra, nos vivere et spirare hic vi aeterne in quibus et nos texant." -  "Through hardships to the stars, we live and breathe this eternal force in which we weave."

Yeah, that phrase had the most issues, indeed. Anywho, that's all I have to say on the matter. I'll try to post more of this soon. Per aspera ad astra.

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Chapter 2: “Will”

 

The Entity shines bright in the center of Sanctum Dei, in all its curvatures and brilliance. Stacey paces around it, a stern yet disturbed face plastered onto her. “We have all been through a lot… and we need to be ready…”

 

...and yet the proportions of the universe are nought enough for your understanding, Stacey.

 

Stacey, sulking slightly, sits and looks to the ground at her feet. “But… I need to know more… I need to know why.”

 

To understand the world is to understand yourself. Whether or not you choose to believe you understand yourself is arbitrary to the correlated goals you desire, yes, but you must understand why your search for foresight is a form of suffering, no matter how you decide to placate or juxtapose its meaning.

 

Stacey feels the Entity pulse. “...I just… I worry for our safety.”

 

I know. Frankly, this is the constant of the universe… but, you knew this already. So… why must you seek your safety for the future if the betterment of that future lies in the present? Each step you take is right, no matter how wrong it feels. Embrace the shake, and you will prosper.

 

Complacent, Stacey nods. Soon after, she hears footsteps - Vincent must be leading them here. She stands. “The Angels are coming… so, uh… yeah. Do your thing. Don’t showboat.”

 

Stacey feels the Entity gleam a sort of humored light. When do I ever?

 

Stacey grins while phasing to another place in the Pillars. As she leaves, she looks to the Entity. “You’d be surprised.” With that, she is gone, as Vincent, Thomas, and the Angels enter the room from the dim-lit hallway.

 

Vincent senses that Stacey was here before they were. Not sure how to respond, he shrugs and quickly mutters to himself. “Stacey… you really need to give yourself time to let go…”

 

Vincent turns towards the Angels, who all appear to be distracted by the Entity. “Don’t go looking too long,” he says, as they adjust their sight to Vincent. “You’ll go blind.”

The room is silent. Thomas, at the corner of the door, grins a little, but doesn’t make a sound.

 

Vincent adjust his posture. “Heh… right. Well, this is what you are here for, guys. This… is the Entity. The sole remnant of creation, left behind from eons and eons of Cycles past to protect the universe. A little preachy sounding, but… it’s true.”

 

Vincent looks to the Entity. “Not much for introductions, I know. Speak to them. They’ll want to hear you.”

 

After a moment of silence, the Angels become aware of an irregular breeze surrounding the room. A bit like the Entity is… breathing. Not very long after this insight, the Entity speaks.

 

I’ve… been expecting to meet with you for what feels like ages now… they did right to locate you. Ah, yes… I can see the breath of eternity in your hearts. You are indeed who we are looking for.

 

Adam looks to the Entity, with a face wrought of awe and slight confusion. “So… what do you expect of us?”

 

The Entity chuckles. There is a lot I expect, but it is arbitrary. No, what is important is that you are here. Now what comes is an understanding. You must learn to harness your newfound powers, and the Prophets will help you along that journey itself…

 

Thomas moves closer to the Angels. “Yeah… we’ve got a lot of stuff to teach you, and with no time to lose. Honestly, we should-”

 

The Entity attempts to interject Thomas. Now hold on, Thomas…

Thomas retorts, with a slight twinge in his eyes. “No, Entity. I’m sorry, I am, but you know how important they are. They need to be ready. We’ve got no time… what time we had left was spent a long time ago.”

 

A silence enters the room, as if all the oxygen in the room was stripped. Then, the Entity speaks.

 

I understand. You four, you want to protect that which you hold dear. You want to live in solace knowing your cause was as just as it always has been. But look at what we’re dealing with. You aren’t questioning if they accept this path, nor are you showing them it in a way that is correct. You work a man to the bone and all he’ll want to do is start a war. Believe me. I should know.

 

Thomas stands silent, looking towards the Entity. He then turns his head away, looking to the ground, feeling shame.

 

Now, you’ve all been through a lot. I get that. You should know, that no matter how wrong I make Thomas sound, his virtue is just. We are running out of time. There is a chain of events that, inevitably, will be set in motion. We - all of us - need to be ready to see to it that these events are avoided. The fate of all reality is at stake. That being said… you deserve some rest. Give it a night. You will begin your training when you wake. Be ready, and rest well. You need it.

 

Thomas stands tall once more. “...yeah, you’re right. I’ll, uh… I’ll show you guys around a bit, then, help familiarize you to the place. It’s nicer than it looks, really.”

 

As they begin to walk away, the Entity speaks.

...and, Thomas?


Thomas looks up to the Entity.

 

Leave Jeanne here for a moment. I want to talk to her in private.

 

Thomas nods, and looks to Jeanne, who has a look of confusion painted to her face. Adam, close behind, almost looks the same way, but perhaps… in a more worried fashion.

 

“You better listen to him. The Entity’s not exactly a huge fan of waiting.”

 

Thomas, with the rest of the group in tow, walks down the corridor, Adam looking to Jeanne with a look of slight concern, one that she reciprocates before turning towards the Entity.

 

He’s a noble one, that Thomas… always looking towards the future, preparing and arming to make it the better, but always missing the present when it’s the most important. The Entity chuckles. It can be amusing sometimes, really.

 

A short silence persists until the Entity, somewhat sternly, continues.

So… I imagine you’re taking all this in and have… a few particular questions.

 

Jeanne nods.

 

Yeah… I wouldn’t really mind you asking them, truly. But… I think you, of all of them, understand more that those aren’t questions that have answers you’re truly seeking. No… there’s something else.

 

Jeanne stares to the Entity. “I don’t think I understand.”

 

The Entity scoffs. Honestly, I don’t really expect you to believe you understand… not yet. There’s a lot of things you have left to learn… but I see that there’s more in you than that. Another lesson to be learned. A small spark needed to light your heart on fire. If Stacey coming here before me is any sort of implication, I’d assume that’s what you’re thinking about so heavily. What she means. She’s a passionate one, that girl.

 

“You act for the Universe.” Jeanne stands, positioned in a state of apprehension and nobility. “You probably speak for it too. You know what it says. Can you tell me?”

 

The Entity hums…

...that is for you to seek. There is a voice inside, yes… but perhaps, maybe that voice isn’t so far away. It’s been with you for a long time now… it would be best to learn how to respond. Yes… I am certain you will find your way.

 

A wave of air moves to the corridor, as if the Entity means to motion Jeanne in its direction.

 

Now, I’d prefer to not keep you waiting. You all will have a chance to talk with me again, certainly so. For now… just relax. Go catch up with them.

 

Jeanne motions towards the corridor, and begins to walk away, as the Entity recollects.

 

Oh… she will see.

 

//

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UPDATE (6/25/2018): It's been a while. Honestly, it has. There's been bouts of busy work, bouts of writer's block, and bouts of... simply, stalling, that went through getting to this point. But I'm glad to finally be able to openly announce that I've completed Intuition. Fully.

 

I know, I'm surprised too!

 

Work's going into tweaking other chapters, and we're still looking into other matters regarding it. But, I'm just glad to come forward and tell you guys.

 

I'll be posting the next few chapters over the coming days. Be ready. It's gonna be good.

 

...or, well, as good as I can make it. Good's just an opinion of matter, and I'm not gonna argue if you don't think my word's good...

...maybe.

 

 

All jokes aside... I'm posting the next chapter soon. The chapters after it will come shortly after. Prepare to receive, as one would say.

aaaaaaa I'm so excited

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Chapter 3: "Training Fodder"

 

Visions of a deathly scene mask the room. Blood soaks the walls, caressing them like it was meant to be there. Bodies litter the area surrounding the Angels, whom are caked in sweat and stained with the abhorrence of their surroundings. While Alex and Adam are holding guns against their sides, Vladimir and Jeanne both hold out their swords. A silence casts itself across the room, as the four of them take a breath, and quickly brush away the blood from their faces, and some weapons alike. Thomas, on a land mass floating beside them, sits, watching. “Good. You’re doing good. But there are dangers that of which are unknown to you. We have control of one… and we want to see how you act towards it. Go!”

 

At that notion, a green portal opens, as a writhing mass of tentacles reach out from its mass. A large, hulking beast, three heads adorning it, spawns from it, as the Angels back up away from it.

 

The beast walks forth, and Adam acts without hesitation, commanding the group. “Jeanne, Vladimir, get behind it. Alex, go up to get a vantage point. You know the signal. I’ll lead it, go!”

 

Alex, losing not a single moment, uses his Wings to fly to a landmass adjacent to that of the one Thomas sits at. Jeanne and Vladimir use their Wings to jump over the beast, getting behind it, as they use their swords to attempt to pierce its skin. Adam, meanwhile, shoots towards the body of the beast. All of which, to their shock, does nothing to phase the beast, as the swords don’t pierce the skin and the bullets do nothing.

 

“Adam!”, Jeanne yells to Adam. “Nothing’s working! The body can’t be-”

 

Adam intejects. “Keep trying! It’s gotta have something we can-”

 

Having been distracted, the beast lurches forward and hits Adam, sending him flying. He lands, writhing as the pain spikes through his back.

Jeanne screams. “ADAM!”

 

The beast comes forward, closer to Adam. It kneels down, and Adam looks to it, seeing its rows of teeth between its every head, before it bellows out an unholy screech, then lurches forward.

 

But before either the beast or Adam can react, Jeanne lurches forward, slashing the leftmost and middle head of the beast, popping them open. Adam quickly moves, and, at the sight of this, makes his move. “Alex! The weakness is the head! Make the shot!”

 

Alex looks to the beast, now distracted, writhing in the pain, as it bellows a loud, painful shriek towards the group, now aside Vladimir. A perfect shot for Alex to make. He grins, before saying a closing thought. “Looks like we’ve come to a head.”

 

Alex shoots, piercing the beast’s last head. The beast lingers, dazed, as it falls slowly to the ground, dissipating into a green mist. The room then changes.

 

Thomas comes forward, as the lights of Ramus Potestatem flicker back, and the room returns to a basic form. “Great work. Simply great. I… honestly can’t talk it down any. You guys have learned a lot, and so quickly.”

 

Vincent appears, aside Thomas. “Pah. They were good. But they’re not ready.”

 

The Angels look to Vincent with confusion, as Adam speaks from this. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

 

Vincent grins, almost chuckling under his breath. “You guys work together very well, but you don’t act upon it fast enough.”

 

He points to Adam. “You let yourself become distracted, and the beast used that to its advantage. Not to mention the fact that, after all the strategy that you’ve built, you pushed yourself to that weakness, you pushed yourself towards that beast getting the opening shot.”

 

He motions to Jeanne and Vladimir. “Not everything can be accomplished through brute force.” He motions to Alex. “Not everything can be seen through the highest vantage.”

He then comes back to Adam. “Do you understand?”

 

Adam looks to the ground, opening his hands, revealing them to be dirtied, and bloodied. “...I do.”

 

Thomas comes back in. “Vincent’s right… for once.” To that, Thomas sees Vincent smirk, but does not move to comment from that. “You all have done well, but you have more to learn. You must understand, being built to these quick-thinking strategies will require a cunning, an abject understanding of the fields you find yourselves on. It will take time… but you will understand.”

 

David appears, only to whisper something to Thomas and Vincent. Vincent, at hearing this, phases out of the area, whereas Thomas motions as though meaning to say that he will meet with him momentarily, before David phases out as well.

 

Thomas returns to look at the Angels. “You guys have earned some rest, for today. Any further questions for us?”

 

A silence creeps up, and Thomas looks away. “I… know you guys are concerned, still. Confused. The fact that we can conjure up these same horrors for you to fight against, for training, is very much understandable. That power itself comes from the Entity’s will. But these same powers will be found from the Epsilon. These same horrors will find themselves on that doorstep.”

 

The Angels stand, still silent. Thomas looks down. “I… know that… this is all still new. Believe me, I don’t get used to being in my position in all this for a second. None of us do. We’re all still human, after all, dealing with a matter that is… so much bigger than us. Believe me, I get it.”

 

Thomas conjures up a cigarette, lighting it with a flame put forth from his thumb, before walking to the side, walking around the Angels. “The day that these machinations come for us won’t end without loss, without sacrifice. But we need to be ready. I’m not asking you to put aside your thoughts, I’m not asking you to forget all that you have went through. But I am asking you… to understand. The most powerful thoughts in all of the universe come from that of understanding. If anything… dwell on these thoughts. But let not those thoughts, those fears, consume you. Let them power you.”

 

Adam motions to Thomas. “What… if those thoughts lead us to a road we don’t want to go down?”

 

Thomas chuckles. “Then who are you to not challenge that road?”

 

He then disappears, and the Angels leave Ramus Potestatem. Vladimir and Alex lead ahead of Jeanne and Adam, talking amongst themselves, while Jeanne and Adam simply look to each other, both unsure of their intentions. Adam then speaks up to Vladimir and Alex, now standing outside of Ramus Potestatem. “Alex, Vladimir… you guys go on ahead. Talk among yourselves, and what-not. I… need to talk to Jeanne.”

 

Vladimir and Alex nod, both leaving them. Jeanne turns to Adam, confused, as Adam speaks. “We need to find a place to talk. Follow me.”

 

The two of them then motion towards Lux Hortus.

 

//

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Chapter 4: "Fear of The Epsilon"

 

Stacey looks to the Entity, and to the area surrounding, a screen nearby now alight to show a spiking energy field surrounding the Pillars. David and Vincent appear aside her, seeing the screen for a moment, looking towards the Entity.

 

It’s all very concerning, I know.

 

As Thomas phases into the room, Stacey speaks to the Entity. “No fucking kidding, it’s concerning!”

 

Thomas looks to Stacey. “Whoa, whoa, alright. What’s happening?”

 

Stacey points to the screen, and Thomas looks to it, his face shifting from confident demeanor towards a light shock. “It…”

 

“Yes,” Stacey says, “it’s very much distressing. Adeva sent some readings our way from his end, too… it’s just here. Energy spikes are running rampant around the Pillars… and I think we all know what that means.”

 

Vincent speaks up. “How much time do we have?”

 

Stacey looks at Vincent, her face showing her stern, flustered state. “I… don’t know. It’s been going under our radars this whole time… we may be too late to stop it, without it leaking through.”

 

The Prophets, all with a stressed look adorned to their faces, look to the Entity.

 

The Entity, having seen all this, speaks. I can sense it too, you know. It’s coming. Soon. You… should act. Quickly.

 

To this thought, Thomas stands. “...we need to go. Now. Vincent, David, I want you to stay in this room, protect the Entity. Stacey, come with me, we need to go now!”

 

Vincent shouts to Thomas. “No, Thomas! We need to stick togeth-”

“There’s no time for this!”, Thomas retorts. “GO! Phase in the weapons box in the main room, give yourselves defenses. We NEED to hurry!”

 

Stacey looks to the Entity. Hearing everything, while hearing nothing, she thinks to it, fleeting only for a moment.

 

With that, Stacey and Thomas rush out of Sanctum Dei, while David and Vincent give themselves weapons, their faces alight. Their eyes, now colored green, pulsate and flash. David looks to Vincent. “Just like the old days, eh?”

 

Vincent grins. “Oh… OH, you know it!”

 

Minutes later, the room is then enveloped by a loud, crushing blast of pure force, shaking the entirety of the Pillars. Vincent utters a warcry, as zombies begin to phase into the room around them.

 

=========================

 

Thomas and Stacey appear in the main room. Thomas, making towards the front door, phases in and places down defenses, as a weapon box phases in to the right, aside him. Stacey, meanwhile, closes her eyes, and pushes herself out from her body, scanning the room. Towards the front door to the Pillars, she sees a building force begin to build, but… between that, she senses… a bright force. Static. Same. Familiar…

 

Suddenly, she opens her eyes, realizing what that force is, screaming to Thomas. “THOMAS! Get Alex and Vladimir! They’re outside, right in the middle of everything! Quick!”

 

Thomas looks to Stacey, shocked, but understanding, as he phases out to where they are.

 

Suddenly, a loud and powerful boom is created throughout the room. Stacey, immediately dazed from the blast, closes her eyes.

 

//

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Chapter 5: "Eye on the Darkness"

 

Alex looks out, a cosmic splendor surrounding him. Outside, at the entrance to the Pillars, he and Vladimir look on. Most of this time, they’ve been discussing the past few days, joking around and bickering ever so little, but, at this moment, they both lay silent, looking beyond, at the nebulae surrounding them.

 

Breaking the silence, Vladimir speaks. “Well?”

 

Alex, confused, looks to Vladimir. “...well, what?”

 

“Well… what do you think? Looking at it, up close.”

 

Alex, realizing what he’s referring to, chuckles. “Oh, yes… this place… it’s… beautiful. You know, I never actually expected I would get to see the Pillars up close. I always believed them to be the most beautiful of all nebulae, and… I used to see myself gliding across its expanse, sometimes. In dreams. I never believed I’d be standing up close to them in such a way...”

 

Vladimir, at this response, chuckles. “Ah… da, da, yeah… very fair.”

 

Silence creeps up, for a moment, as Vladimir turns towards Alex.

 

“I… am an old man, Alex. I… used to be like you, you know.”

Vladimir looks away. “Young… full of wonder. Curiosity. I looked to the stars, then, myself.”

 

Vladimir clenches a fist, a passive wave of emotion flying through him. “I always believed that I could never reach them. Never… reach that apex of creation.

 

Vladimir closes his eyes. “I never thought I deserved it.”

 

Alex looks down. “...but you did. They chose your intellect, your knowledge. They believed you would be of their benefit.”

 

Vladimir stands, turning away from Alex. “Isn’t that so crazy, Alex? What’s so special there, huh? That one crazy circumstance led me to meet all of you… and led us… to where we are today.”

 

Alex, to this comment, looks to the stars outside the Pillars. “There’s so much. All we had been through, and yet that made us be who we are now. In a way… it’s humbling, no?”

 

Alex turns to meet Vladimir’s eyes, as he continues. “I don’t even think I’d bear staying here if you weren’t here for me to feel that humanity again. We’re not anomalies in a cosmic scheme. We’re something bigger, all of us. It’s stressful, and I know you feel the same way about it.”

 

Alex looks away, as his eyes become ever so slightly lightened. “But you’ve been around all this time, and you’ve given me all this hope, all of the belief I need to move forward. I… owe you a lot.”

 

Vladimir looks to Alex. “You’re a good man, Alex.”

 

Alex smirks, and puts his hand forward in an embrace. “Well, you know the adage… smart men stick together. To achieve greatness.”

 

To that, they chuckles, and shift back to look back towards the stars. Vladimir, in that moment, looks back to the Pillars, and realizes that, among them, the stars around them are disappearing. “Alex… Alex, turn around. Look at the Pillars...”

 

Alex, to that, looks to the area surrounding them, noticing that the area around them is becoming darker, the stars seemingly being… erased. “What… what’s going o-”

 

At that, Thomas appears beside them, grabbing them. “Sorry to interrupt, but we gotta move.”

 

To that, Thomas phases out, taking Alex and Vladimir with him, as the doors to the Pillars blast open and a loud boom shatters the surrounding area.

 

========================================

 

“I… owe you.”

 

Adam walks, the hallway into Lux Hortus adorned with cosmic lighting surrounding.

 

Jeanne walks next to Adam, close by. “For?”

 

Adam motions forward, with a slight grin to his face. “Well… for what you’ve done. There’s… a lot of things I could say to make that statement make more sense, but… that most recent save from you, definitely takes the cake.”

 

Jeanne chuckles. “What can I say? I acted out of my intuition.”

 

Adam sighs, stopping, looking to Jeanne. “That’s not it.”

 

The area surrounding them morphs, opening to reveal a garden of vegetation unlike anything seen to either of them. Jeanne, looking to it, is shocked at the sight, basking in the splendor. Orbs of light flash about, lighting the area, showing a living, breathing environment. A being, akin to a butterfly, flies around, as Adam holds his finger out for the butterfly to land. As it does, its wings flash a green color, before flying off.

 

Jeanne looks to Adam. “It’s… beautiful.”

 

Adam looks to the sky above them. “...yeah. It is. Y’know, I wanted to bring you here before. To show you what I saw. Now that I have a reason to… here we are.”

 

Adam steps forward, continuing. “I… don’t think that I ever was able to tell you how much I appreciate what you’ve done for me. All this time. You’ve been here for me more than anyone else. You’ve been one of the few people that I feel believed in me.”

 

Jeanne, to this, blushes. “Adam…”

 

Adam continues. “No, I need to tell you. You come into these situations better than everyone else, you have better cunning than everyone else, and yet… you don’t act like you realize it.”

 

Jeanne looks to Adam, somewhat shocked.

 

“You look to us, and I don’t feel as if you see the potential within yourself like you see in everyone else.”

 

Adam puts his hand on Jeanne’s shoulder.

 

“But you should know… we all believe in you. We all think of you highly.”

 

Adam motions to hug Jeanne.

 

“I… personally… owe you my life, Jeanne. I… can’t thank you enough.”

 

A silence consumes the area, Adam holding Jeanne, static in motion, as Jeanne looks to Adam, before embracing him back, breaking down into tears. The embrace continues as Jeanne falls to her knees, Adam following in motion.

 

 

Moments follow, and Jeanne looks down to her legs, her jeans torn at the knees. Adam’s words shocked her. She… never thought that he would think that way. She… never would have thought to believe what he had told her. All this time, she dwelled on her thoughts, believing, but not seeing them for what they were. She denied herself of being held back before, yet let herself become held by one final chain, a chain she never could have known about. Stacey’s words returned to her. For a moment, she could hear it. Silent within a realm of its own thought. She could hear the universe… and it was gearing her to act.

 

“...Adam…”

 

She looks up to him, now seeing him for what he was… perhaps seeing more than just that, too.

 

She leans to place her head to his legs, laying there, looking up to the skies around them, looking to the insects surrounding them.

 

“You… did quite a lot of work to set this up, didn’t you?” She looks up to Adam, grinning.

 

Adam looks to her, before chuckling. Joining him, they both begin to laugh, almost losing control of it.

 

Suddenly, their laughter is interrupted by a blast of force shaking the room. All insects and living things scatter at the sound. Both of them, their smiles now fading, shuffle to stand up.

 

“What was that?” Jeanne says.

 

Adam motions to leave the room. “I don’t know… but it sounds bad. We should go!”

 

To that, she nods, as they rush off, back into the hallway, as the room masks itself once more, the lights in the hall flickering.

 

//

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I really enjoyed reading it. Thanks for the updates, Meh, the story makes good progress

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9 hours ago, anonymous said:

I really enjoyed reading it. Thanks for the updates, Meh, the story makes good progress

I appreciate you being a reader.

I've been trying to do my best, if I'm being honest. Not a great writer with actual story adaptation, if I'm being critical about it. Just glad to see the appreciation.

 

Got a few more chapters to come.

'tis gon' be a big one.

 

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Ooohh Lets see where this brings us. Just to let you know I'm a fan of plot twists and paradoxes/mindfuck stuff á la The Prestige

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On 8/1/2018 at 5:12 PM, anonymous said:

Just to let you know I'm a fan of plot twists and paradoxes/mindfuck stuff

Might have just the thing in mind...

 

But let's get this show on the road. Next chapter, coming soon!

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Chapter 6: “Convergence”

 

The dust settles as Adam and Jeanne walk out from Lux Hortus. The roof of the main room, now blasted open, reveals the stars surrounding the Pillars, blackened and no longer visible. A fog now envelops the room, covering the rubble surrounding the room. The pillars within the room are the only thing keeping the room stable… yet everything around it is everything but stable.

 

Two portals aside the entrance doors, now barely hanging to its hinges, stand. Zombies, adorned with red eyes, among with plenty more monstrosities, appear, flooding in from the portals.

 

A voice, unknown to them, screeches. CONSUME THEM!

 

Adam and Jeanne run towards Thomas, Stacey, Alex and Vladimir, all standing in the middle of the room, barricades adorned aside them. Jeanne summons the Left Hand of God to her hands as she runs, taking down anything that comes in front of them.

 

Having made it to the area, Adam shouts to Thomas. “What the hell’s going on?!”

 

Thomas keeps towards shooting ahead, as he speaks to Adam. “It’s the Epsilon! We didn’t see it coming… he’s attacked!”

 

Adam scans the area, considering what he had told him. “What can we do?”

 

Thomas stops for a moment, putting his head to the pistol in his hand, obviously flustered. “We… need to fend them off. Close the portals. We need to stop this.”

 

Adam looks to Alex and Vladimir. “What can you guys tell me?”

 

Alex shoots towards a beast, once flying, now grounded, dissipating. “This just sort of happened! We were right outside, then he pulled us back. He said that David and Vincent are holding off the area between them and the Entity… but they can’t hold it alone. They need help.”

 

Adam sighs. “Dammit… dammit…”

 

He looks ahead… to Thomas. To the beasts surrounding them… to Jeanne… then the portals. Looking closer, he sees a twinge of red light, centering to a small, growing, red circular object above them.

 

Adam looks to Thomas again. “I know what to do.”

 

Thomas looks up to him, then phases in an automated turret to cover. “Talk.”

 

Adam looks to the portals. “We need to make a path to those portals. They’re connected to… some sort of nexus force, growing in the middle of the room. I think they’re powering the portals. If we can make it to them, and close them off… everything should dissipate, right?”

 

Thomas looks to the portals, then back to Adam. “The only way we could close them is to physically rip them down. I would be fine, but you… it’s dangerous… but it could work.”

 

Adam stands, ready. “Then… I’ll do it.”

 

Jeanne moves closer to Adam. “Adam, no! You can’t… please, don’t-”

 

Without thought, Adam turns around and kisses Jeanne. For a moment, everything around them stops. Jeanne closes her eyes.

 

Adam stops, and whispers to her. “Stay safe. Go help David and Vincent. Take Vladimir with you.”

 

The two lean their heads together, before Jeanne breaks the embrace.

 

“Vladimir! We need to go help the others.”

 

To this, he follows her, and the two disappear into Sanctum Dei.

 

Alex, finishing off the crowd ahead of him, shrugs, motioning to Adam and Thomas. “You two better know what you’re doing.”

 

Adam nods, as Thomas motions towards Stacey. “Stacey… you good to give me a read on those portals?”

 

Stacey, still relatively sluggish from the blast, closes her eyes. “Everything’s hazy… but yes.”

At this, she places her hand to the floor, silent for a short moment, before opening her eyes again, now shining a bright white. “The portals have a prime point on each side, directly in the same positions, symmetrical by design. You must grab them by those points. Anywhere else would mean the Epsilon’s darkness would creep into you… consuming you.”

 

She closes her eyes again, only to then conjure four orbs of pure light, placing them at each nexus point in the portal. “I’ve lit the way. I can hold it, but not for long. You need to go to the portals, now!”

 

Without a second thought, Thomas and Adam rush out. Adam conjures his Left Hand of God and cuts into the horde ahead of him, as Thomas conjures a third pistol. “Adam! Take it!”

 

Thomas throws the pistol to Adam, as he catches it and immediately tears down the flying creature in front of him with it. A beast, like the one the Prophets revealed to the Angels in training, appears ahead of them, blocking their way. As it opens its mouth, a shot from behind pierces the middle head, forcing the beast back. Adam turns to the the barrel of Alex’s gun smoking. “I got it! Go!”

 

To this, the two of them rush past the beast, making it to the other side of the room. “Take the one to the left,” Adam tells Thomas. “I’ll handle the other one.”

 

To that, he nods, and the two rush to the portals, the light adorning the prime points now flickering, growing weaker. Thomas and Adam, looking to each other, nod as they grab their respective points. The portal shimmers and flashes as they begin to rip it down from the seams.

 

Adam pulls against the grain, trying as hard as he can, yet feels he’s unable to make it through as the portal struggles to break. Thomas, aside from him, successfully tears his down, though, sending a shockwave across, making Adam almost lose grip.

 

A beam of red energy pours back, thrusting into Adam’s chest, as he’s pushed back. Still holding the prime points, he writhes, just barely holding on. His mind drifts as his body freezes, and times stops. All sense around him shifts.

 

=================================

 

Adam is met by a field of grass, surrounding him. Opening his eyes, he stands. Alone, in this plain, he hears the breeze shift, the direction of the grass blades around him changing with it. A calming place… a wrong place.

 

In the back of his mind, he can hear Thomas yelling. “ADAM! DO IT! DO IT NOW!”

 

His screams for action echo all around, Adam trying to identify the source, but being lost to it all the same.

 

A woman speaks behind him. “Have you found what you were looking for?”

 

Adam turns to see a woman without a face, her body adorned… no, formed, with flowers and moss.

 

“Has the mortal coil ceased? Must you persist?”

 

The woman creeps forward.

 

“Come to me. We can change the universe. All you have to do is give in.”

 

Adam closes his eyes for a moment. Reaching out…

 

A burning passion wells within his heart, as he opens his eyes to reveal a burning red fire within them. The fields between him begin to burn as the woman backs away, cascading herself within the flames.

 

"We'll meet again... let not the future fool the fool in the fire!"

 

==============================================

 

Adam opens his eyes once more, a blinding fire raging in his veins, as he comes to his senses, gaining control over his actions again. Still holding to the portal, he summons all of his might, and rips it apart. The blast from the portal sends him to the wall… but he still stands.

 

The mass of zombies and entities stop in movement, all screeching in unison, as the red ball above them is exhumed, and the masses wither away into dust.

 

Thomas begins to walk to Adam. “I… I can’t believe-”

He quickly stops. “...oh… god, no…”

Adam grins to the sights surrounding him, the silence surrounding. The Leak faded.

 

Adam falls to the ground, as he feels a nothingness coil into his soul.

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Chapter 7: "Preparation of Prospect"

 

Inside Sanctum Dei, the now-massive group of zombies linger ahead. Now joined by David and Vincent, Vladimir and Jeanne continue to attack the hordes. As sudden as they rushed in, two smaller, somewhat concussive blasts are felt as tremors outside of the room, as the zombies in front of the group freeze and dissipate.

 

A silence creeps in, before the Entity breaks it. Good work… you guys were able to hold them off and protect me long enough for them to break the hold they had.

 

Vincent chuckles, the bright glint of his eyes slowly fading back to normal. “All in a day’s work, right?”

 

At the sight of the group looking to Vincent, he shrugs, becoming slightly more condescending. “Oh well. Can’t make everyone laugh.”

 

David motions to the door, urging the group to follow. “We should get to the main room. Check the damages.”

 

The group agrees, as the four of them rush out from Sanctum Dei.

Jeanne, unknown to the group, masks a fear, heading closer to that door, that the sight she sees coming out of the corridor will not be met well.

 

Such fear turns to reality as she pauses, to see Adam surrounded by everyone else. His chest was now pierced with a red mark, in a diagonal pattern down his chest, from the side of his heart leading down. At this, she rushes to them, all thought now blinding her from everything else but him.

 

She comes to his side, falling down to her knees. “What happened to him?”

 

Alex looks away, wanting no one to see him shed tears, as Thomas bends down to Jeanne’s side. “He… was struck, by an exuding force from the portal. He was able to take it down, yes, but… not without mortal injury.”

 

Jeanne looks to his chest, her face hidden by her hair, as tears begin to well up. Stacey embraces Thomas as she, too, begins to cry. Thomas speaks up. “I… don’t know that we can do anything. We… didn’t see this coming. I’m… I’m sorry, Jeanne.”

 

Jeanne cradles Adam’s now unmoving body in her arms, as tears flow down her face in the masses, reaching down her cheeks, to her chin, then finally running down to drip on Adam’s chest, directly onto the mark left from the portal.

 

Jeanne’s tears, unnoticed by the group, begin glowing with light, as they sink into his body… slowly healing away parts of the mark.

 

Adam slowly comes to, hearing everything around him, and motioning to respond as he begins to open his eyes. “...there a funeral going on or something?”

 

Everyone turns their sights to Adam, as his eyes fully open. Jeanne, perhaps the most shocked by all this, stops Adam from getting up fast, when he tries to. He writhes back in pain slightly to this.

 

Thomas looks away for a moment, breaking his embrace from Stacey. “So… it is true…”

 

Jeanne almost screams to Adam. “Oh my god… you scared us, Adam! We thought you were dead!”

 

Adam motions to sit up, and Jeanne helps him do so, as he winces from the movement. “I… *cough* I think I was. For a moment. But I…”

 

Jeanne grins a little. “It’s alright, Adam… we’ll talk about this later.”

To this, Jeanne looks to Stacey. “Hey. Call it a personal hunch, but I think The Entity’s gonna want to talk to us.”

 

Stacey retorts for a moment, but nods as a response. “Adam… doesn’t look to be in good enough shape to join us, but… yes, he does need to talk to us. All of us.”

 

Adam motions to stand, attempting to say that he’s feeling alright, but lurches back as he starts. The other Angels chuckle a little, but then turn their attention away, looking to the room around them. Jeanne slowly helps Adam up and walks together with him towards Sanctum Dei, as the rest of the group follow close behind.

 

==============================================

 

The group huddled around the Entity, setting themselves aside it. With a tired voice, it spoke.

 

The attack… that took a lot from me. I… have to confess, I know why this weakness presented itself.

 

The Entity pauses. As if, to contemplate, if the words would be right.

 

Truth is… I’ve been holding him back. The Epsilon. For eternities now. Eons. Cycles. He’s been held away, deep within me, for a long, long time now.

 

To this, most everyone’s gazes widened. All except Stacey, looking down to the ground, closing her eyes and sighing.

 

You all must understand - there was no other way.

 

What happened today was the cause of a breach of power, weakening me, and letting him through. At the break of the portals, I was able to contain it again… but I don’t know how long I can hold it after this. If we want to exhume the Epsilon… we must act soon. There are places, areas with machinations able to polarize energy, energy of the universe, that we can use to bring me power, power enough to cleanse my being of the Epsilon’s control.

 

The room stayed silent for a moment longer.

Stacey stood up and walked towards a door behind the Entity. “Guess that means we should start it, then.”

 

The Prophets behind her phase out, as she opens the door and walks into the room. The Angels walk slowly towards the door, the room inside cloaked in darkness. Vladimir looked above the door, seeing a sign above it that read “Ex Machina”.

 

The room was then invaded by a bright light, revealing to them the Machina Fini Mundi.

 

Stacey speaks up. “This is where we begin.”

 

//

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Chapter 8: “Branches”

 

[WRITER’S NOTE: Normally, I would use these to point out the writing problems that came up, like I did the Latin in Chapter 1, but… this is a bit different. I’m setting this as a disclaimer that there is… some raunchy bits ahead, so to speak. It’s nothing bad - it’s very much light-hearted, and I feel that anyone could see that if they read it in detail. What makes it become an issue is its context, which… let’s face it, I think we all can get what that context is. That being said, the CoDz forum was made to be built upon a series meant to be made for people 17 or older, and I do expect people to take to that with stride, and act responsibly and maturely. So… with that in mind, I’m posting this as it is. If I need to change the chapter, that’s up to anyone who sees this as anything other than what I’ve said it was. I’ll probably find a way to replace the context, but… I’m gonna be honest, it’d be hard to do that. Anyways… that being said, I hope you enjoy this! Not a whole lot left to the story now… so let’s wrap this up in a neat bow.]

 

====================================

 

The steam encloses itself like a veil around Jeanne as she sits in the warm, engulfing pool of water. Tired from the fight, and yet… relieved, perhaps. Relaxed. The first time in a decent while that she’s been able to find solitude.

 

Thoughts of the Leak came back to her. The memories had been burdening her before, but now, in the calm demeanor of Vapor Serenitatem eased here into them… thinking on her and Adam’s conversation in Lux Hortus, before the Leak… the strange atmosphere of comfort and happiness where she once thought only bitter sorrows and burdens could rest. Then to that singular moment, where all that was taken, almost lost with him.

 

All these experiences quelled within her, a force bellowed in her stomach, yet… somehow, she could feel it in balance, as if a calm tranquility were beyond her, yet holding her. Retrospectively to this, she was reminded of the words Stacey told her, the moment she walked into the Pillars.

 

Immediately then, she realized what she was saying, all along. Stacey was right - the universe had been calling towards them, yearning for their arrival to the Pillars, so their fate is found, their destiny realized. What Stacey may not have seen, however, was how they acted for the universe, vocally pushing them when events began their cycle. She, among with the others, spoke for the quieted whisper of conscious sound within the echo of the universe.

 

Perhaps… that makes them the universe as well. A cosmic, eternal force. Not a cog in a machine - but freely acting to sustain it.

 

Knowing this, Jeanne feels a wave of contentment form over her.

 

A moment later, she hears the door out of Vapor Serenitatem open. Shocked, and somewhat flustered, she finds Adam walking in.

 

Adam, just as shocked, blushes and turns his head away from Jeanne, who is covering herself. “I, uh… didn’t expect you to be here… sorry if I am intruding.”

 

Adam then begins to turn away, but not before Jeanne speaks. “No, no, it’s fine...  can’t blame you for wanting a bit of rest, right?”

 

Adam turns back around. “Heh… ain’t that the truth. So… do you…”

Jeanne slightly smirks. “No. I don’t mind.”

 

To these words, Adam began to undress, as Jeanne looked away. When she heard him set himself down in the water, Jeanne turned her head back over.

 

“So… how are you feeling?”, Jeanne says, not wishing to keep to silence between them.

 

Adam scratches at his neck, Jeanne’s sight looking towards the mark on his chest.

“Well… I suppose I’m alright. The mark’s healing up.”

Adam stretches his hands out. “To be honest, though… all this fighting’s tiring me o-”

 

Adam stops, as he notices Jeanne looking down, at the verge of tears. “You know what I mean.”

 

Adam’s slight cheerful expression begins to evaporate, as Jeanne continues. “You… died. You stopped breathing, you were… gone… yet you’ve acted so nonchalantly about it, like that didn’t happen… like you’ve been trying to close off all thought of that moment. I… I...”

 

Adam moves closer to Jeanne, putting his arm over her shoulder. “Jeanne… I’m fine… believe me. I’ve been dwelling on it ever since… and I don’t forget it. Though… it’s dwelling on it that makes us falter. We need to move away from these thoughts if we want to move forward, and grow stronger, as people.”


Adam looks away, a strained expression growing behind his face. “...yes, it happened. I… know what that’s done around me. I… don’t want people to worry. Believe me, I don’t.”

 

Jeanne turns her head, and a few tears begin to roll down to her cheeks.

Adam edges slightly closer. “Jeanne… what else is this about?”

 

Jeanne stands up, moving towards the center of the pool of water. “Adam… we’ve been through so much. You, me… all of us. I… I’m just… afraid. I know that we have the power to make a difference, but what happens if one of us still can’t push through? What happens if one of us doesn’t make it? I…”

 

Jeanne puts her hands over her eyes, and they begin to flood.

 

“...I don’t want to lose you.”

 

Adam slightly reels back, the weight of her words landing on him like cinder blocks… and yet, they felt weightless, as he realized.

 

Adam moves towards Jeanne, grabbing her and turning her towards him.

 

“Jeanne… I won’t ever leave you. Even if the world cracks apart and burns, I’ll always be by your side. You have my word on that.”

 

After a moment’s hesitation, Jeanne puts her arms around Adam, in search of comfort and solidarity, and Adam does the same. Her eyes are closed still, sorrow still clinging.

 

Adam continues. “Don’t let yourself down because of this… you’re stronger than that, I know you are. We can do this, we can make it…”

 

Adam turns Jeanne’s head towards him, and Jeanne opens her eyes, looking into his.

 

“...together.”

 

A calming serenity encloses the room, as Adam and Jeanne kiss. A feeling that felt as if it would last forever, before coming back up from it. Adam looks to Jeanne, a calmed expression on her face as she slowly opens her eyes, meeting his gaze.

 

Jeanne then suddenly begins to chuckle, to Adam’s confusion. “What?”

Jeanne pushes her hair back, and looks to Adam. “Just… I don’t think you’ve ever used a pick-up line, since we met.”

 

Adam slightly grins, looking to the side as he chuckles a bit. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

Jeanne puts her hand to his face. “Nothing at all… just makes me adore that charm of yours more.”

To that, Adam smiles. “Oh, really? Guess I gotta try a little harder, then…”

 

A moment after, Adam drops her in the water, submerging her. Adam begins stepping back as she rises back up from the water. “How’s that for charm, Jeanne?”

 

A grin emerges from her face, as she lunges forward to tackle Adam, sending them both under. Both came back up at the edge of the pool, Jeanne leaning against Adam, laughing together before Jeanne gives Adam an answer.

 

“Y’know… I think it’s quite alright… try not to change too much on me, Adam.”

Jeanne looks up to him, while caressing his chest.

“...and be a bit more bloody careful.”

 

Adam chuckles, putting his hand to her cheek. “...anything for my mighty rose.”

 

As the steam hovers from the pool, it surrounds them as they kiss once more. Jeanne remembers the stars it created.

 

=============================

 

“Are you certain this is going to work?”

 

Adam inquisitively looks on towards Thomas. Unnoticed to him until now, the first shockwave left a mark to him, a seemingly golden pale shining on his skin. Thomas shrugs away the question, and smiles, to Adam’s response.

“Yeah… certain.”, he replies.

 

“Well, I suppose it’s time, then.” Adam says, turning towards Ex Machina, where Jeanne, Alex and Vladimir wait for him. Jeanne smiles at Adam, and Adam smiles back.

 

Stacey appears, and with her, Vincent. “The device is ready.”, Vincent starts. “You’ll have as long as you need out there, but you won’t be able to take much more than your sidearms with you. I wish we had more to arm you with… the Entity seems to believe it’s the 'scheme of things', honestly…”

 

Oh, shush, the Entity replies, weakly and collectively. You know exactly why I do that.

 

Vincent scoffs. “Yes, yes, I know, I know…they’ll find the stuff they need when they get there, you’ll manifest a box or something, I get it. Y’know, the Epsilon itself only recently laid wasted to a portion of the Pillars… the least you could do is be a bit less condescending about it.”

 

The Entity chuckles. I could say the same to you… in any case, however, I believe that’s not the big issue we have going for us.

 

Stacey looks towards the Angels. “Yes, he’s right… listen, we’re sending you out to three specific places throughout space and time. Each area you find yourself in has a particular artifact, attuned specially to wavelengths of the universe itself… or, for a lack of better words, are very powerful. Whatever way you can, you must use them in a way that turns them towards our advantage, and makes it so we can use the powers they provide to revitalize the Entity, making him powerful enough to brave the storm that will come via the return of the Epsilon.”

 

Stacey walks towards the machine behind the group, turning knobs and twisting gears, changing its seemingly rudimentary form to new ones each time she tweaks them. “I’ve set the coordinates correctly… you will only be able to access each area one at a time. We’ll be back here, watching you and helping in whatever way we can…”

 

Stacey glances towards Thomas momentarily, then whole-heartedly towards the Angels. “Look, we’re all unsure of what’s about to happen, given recent events. I know that… it may be hard out there, and doing that which you think is right might be hard, but… I just need to know you’re ready for whatever you find. So… are you?”

 

Vladimir and Alex nod as Jeanne walks towards Stacey. Placing a palm on her shoulder, Jeanne speaks.
 

“You said the universe needed us. I think we all hear what it’s urging us to do.”

 

Jeanne backs away as Stacey’s face shines bright with a newfound, prideful smile. “Alright… good. Vincent, set full power to the Machina Fini Mundi. We’ve got work to do!”

 

With that, the machine begins to glow, as the Angels step forward with Stacey into Ex Machina as the doors behind them close.

 

//

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Epilogue: "Conversations With Yourself"

 

Only ever so often in several millennia do I find myself giving my own self monologue. Although, I almost feel it is necessary. Events are all transpiring as they should, and… well, it would be best someone, even if it may be myself, happens to hear this.

 

They found them. The Angels. Finally. After so long… of course, I already can see where this will inevitably lead itself, but I find a simpler contentment knowing that it will all still happen the same way. As they leave to the corridor aside of my formality, it is safe to say I feel a sort of inner peace in knowing that they will be able to do the right thing. The right thing for not only themselves, but for everyone.

 

Right, umm… question. Who said it was right? Just you, I think… perhaps it’s that voice you’ve been hearing that’s making you say it.

 

...what? How did…?

 

You know me, more than you know you, you know. Can you feel it? The ebony heart?

 

...why do you come for me now?

 

I never came for you. I never even had to step outside my quarters. For I am that thought within thought, that urge of primal desire and fear, that which you know is more ancient than you. I have always existed, and yet you never can understand this simplest of facts, can you… oh, what do you go by now? God? The Entity? No matter, we know what we are… don’t we?

 

You will not win. They are but the pieces to a puzzle, the fragments of the glass. They will fight just as they had when they closed the Leak, and they will fight like they had the times before. They are what will end you. You must know this.

 

Yes. The Leak was necessary anyhow, a distraction that would lead them to this fate. Our intertwined, ever so bright darkness of fate that will lead this universe towards the gravel.

 

You will fail, no matter what you words and analogies you choose to utter.

 

Are you absolutely certain you know what you are saying? In the end, they shall falter. The time before will finally be once more, and they will become false martyrs. You know this as well, don’t you… you’ve seen it before. A very, very long time ago, ages turned over to ages and your sight never blurred. You know what will happen. The pieces fit, and the scene is to be set soon… so why don’t you let me show you the light?! GIVE UNTO ME!

 

Stop! I won’t let you take me now, and most certainly not them. You cannot comprehend their power!

 

No… but I can comprehend yours!

 

What are you saying?

 

Just wait and see. Soon, a new dawn will come…

...they just need to…

 

...give me the keys.

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Well, how about that. Looks like the post's finished! Story's complete now! Man, am I glad to have finally wrapped it up, guys.

 

This whole bit I'm typing here won't be in "L'edizione Prospettiva", and I'm leaving it more as a bit of a side-note/end-note for the forums. Not sure what I could say, really, past... well, thanks for being patient with me. It's been a struggle to get everything out, and I know that the wait's been rough. College came and went, and I just found less time. Depends how you look at it. But... I'm glad to say that we've been able to reach this point. The future stands ahead, and I'd like to look forward to what's in store.

 

May as well confirm now - the name of the coming map is, in fact, "Prospect". I'll be withholding the final map's name (can't give away all my secrets, can I), but do know that they will likely be posted on the same day... as is planned.

...oh, do I hope that you guys will love 'em.

 

That all being out of the way... I'm gonna throw another thanks, as usual, over to Nightmare Voyager. If there were words I could use, I'd use 'em, but man... there's not a lot. The man's been so helpful. I couldn't do this series without him. I dearly wish he'd come back to CoDz at times, but I think that he's found solace where he is in life now... and I can't say I'd be any more proud than I am in either way. So... again, thank you. If you ever see this, that is. I know you'll see all the other Acknowledgements, so I know you'll get this message all the same either way.

 

Thanks for what support I've gotten, guys. There's a lot in store for these next two closing maps, and I truly hope they can excite, terrify, and overall... just be enjoyed. One of my main goals with this series, over time, has simply become to make something that people like. Kind of the same for me too - I'd only make something I like making... and I'm passionate for this series, and I'm passionate to see to it this series closes well. So... yeah.

 

All I can say... stay tuned. We're gonna go to hell or highwater soon enough.

 

Per aspera ad astra!

 

-The Meh

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