I took the steps two at a time, the everwinding staircase taking me round and round, up and up. Leaning against the cold stone of the wall, I breaked for the briefest of moments, my lungs throbbing, my heart beating wildly in my head - reminders of my weaknesses.

Taking a fresh gulp of air, I continued higher, spiraling towards the heavens, though my original momentum was lost by my short pause, my feet feeling like lead weights. But I pressed on, determined, hearing the inner clock ticking off inside my head, seconds melding into minutes - precious time we couldn't affort to lose.

Will this ever end? These stairs were longer than I remembered them, and I was beginning to grow desperate, wondering if this was some sort of accursed trap my wicked sister had set for me.

I closed my eyes, nearly collapsing where I was, and thought briefly of Tiffany....there was a burst of sudden energy, my resolve refirming, filling my exhaustion for the time being. Not much farther now, I encouraged myself optimistically.

Finally I stepped free from the staircase, out into the open of a small, circular room, a lofty perch high in the starry sky, wide windows open to the brilliant universe all around. The room was sparsely furnished, and I was drawn to the absolute center, a graceful, beautiful ball of light floating unconfined.


I stepped forward without a moment's thought, reaching hastily for the orb, instantly feeling its energy, its pure, blissful aura long before touching it.

"Never thought it would be that simple?" a figure stepped from the shadows opposite of me, a face cast in darkness. "Well, it isn't."

I could hear the laughter, the malice, behind the words, and even though I had yet to see the expression, I could feel the deadly smirk. Without thought I rushed forward, reaching the orb before my opponent's greedy fingers could take it for himself...

Enveloped in a world of white, I was surrounded by....nothingness, a snowy white fog clouding gathering around me, clouding my vision. Suddenly a strange breeze seemed to gently sweep the mist away, clearing an image of....Tiffany! She stood quite far from me, gowned in white, a perfect sight of pure beauty. I stepped forward, her eyes locked on my own, burning with inexpressible emotion, and she reached her hands out to me, desperately, as if she was stuck, unable to move. I ran forward, through our fantastical universe of snow, unrestrained, and reached for her with every part of my being...

Our fingertips brushed, the feeling of her skin so familar...yet just as we touched, we began to sink away from one another....the world around me fading to black. I saw her face vaguely now, contorted in agony, screaming words I could not hear...I yelled to her, fighting, but to no avail....

My eyes fluttered open, confused, for a short time forgetting where I was and what I was doing. I was on the floor, sweating like an evil fever had infected me, trembling uncontrollably. And there stood Desmious, a face and name familar to me now, looking over me with dark, laughing eyes, Tiffany's soul floating above his palm, glowing furiously.

What a fool I was. It was a trap.


The End

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