I was with my friend Devin. We were in my apartment room. Devin was looking for something on the computer, and I was looking over his shoulder.
“What do you think?” he asked me, showing me a picture of a ring.
“I like that one… I think the other is a bit more her styled though. She isn’t really the flowery type.”
“True true… oh! How about this one?”
“Wow… that one is pretty cool. I like the design around the gemstone. And you can get an overlay too.”
“Yeah… gah! There are too many choices! I want the perfect one… the one that will show her that she is my Jewel.”
“Wh-what did you say?”
“I said I want to show her that she is my Jewel. No better to do that than with actual Jewels right?”
My head was pounding and I grabbed it with my hands to keep it together.
“Dude, are you all right?”
“I… I don’t know…it feels like something is trying to break into my head.”
“Ok… should I call an ambulance or something?”
“N-no… I’ll be… I’ll be-“
I walked into the bathroom and splashed some water on my face. I looked up into the mirror and saw my dripping face. My eyes were nearly screwed shut in pain.
Then very slowly my hands came off my head and my eyes opened wide as if I had remembered something. Something important. I stared into the mirror and whispered two words. I could barely hear them, but I didn’t need to hear the words. I could read them off my lips quite clearly.
I burst out of the bathroom, past Devin, and flung my door open. My thoughts were scrambled, but I could make out scraps every now and then.
“Wasting time… needs my help… Biest… have to get to Cyst… could be too late…”
I nearly tripped as I ran down the stairs. I burst through the main doors leading to the outside. I knew that I had to get to Cyst, and I knew what I had to do to get there. I looked up and down the road, finally spotting a vehicle in the distance.
A blue minivan.
I waited until the distance eliminated any chance of the driver missing me.
Then I jumped in front of the van.
“GAH!!!” I shouted as I woke up. A glance at the clock showed the time to be six in the morning. I sat up and hugged my knees to my chest as I thought about the dream. My heart was thumping wildly and my head seemed to be trying to outdo my heart.
I knew how I came to be on Cyst.
But even more important was that I knew how to get there again.
But did I dare try? What if I could only do that a certain number of times?
I couldn’t let that stop me. I was going to die here eventually anyways, might as well die trying to save a world. How much time had gone by in Cyst already? A few days at least… would Biest attack? Would he hold out a little longer?
Would I be able to stop him?
I had to.
I threw off my covers, and burst through my door much like had only hours before. I flew down the stairs and out the door and was standing on the sidewalk looking for cars.
Does it have to be cars? Couldn’t it be like a chocolate overdose or something? I thought.
I wasn’t going to risk it. I would do exactly as I had done earlier. A car was approaching in the distance. I checked to be sure that it wasn’t a blue minivan and soon was able to confirm that it wasn’t. It was a white SUV.
I waited until the last possible second, then I shut my eyes and threw my body in front of the car. I felt sorry for the person driving it… I didn’t want to cause them any anxiety but this was something I had to do.
The wheels were nearly on top of me when I my head began to hurt again.
I remember what my name is! It’s-
I woke up surrounded by another crowd of people. That part wasn’t really unusual though. What was odd was that I didn’t recognize anyone in this crowd. After living in Cyst for a few months, I had begun to memorize faces and Shrouds and didn’t see any of them here, but even that, wasn’t the oddest part.
What was really strange was while I didn’t know any of these people, they seemed to know me.
None of them approached me, but I caught snatches of conversation here and there.
“Is it him?”
“He is back!”
“Are you sure?”
I looked down at my body and relieved to find that I had my white Shroud back. I focused on my Shroud and was able to create a black whirring blade. It was satisfying, and in a way, relieving.
I looked around and noticed that while this place was similar, it was not in fact Cyst. While Cyst looked like Earth with more nature and less buildings, this place was much like Cyst only with more budding and more light. I had woken up in practically the same place, which, now that I thought about it, was strikingly similar to the area in of my apartment.
I found this whole situation oddly familiar as the crowd parted and a figure stepped out. It was a woman with long white hair, and peculiar bright yellow eyes. She had smooth dainty appearance, but I did not allow that to influence my assumptions about her.
In fact, I didn’t make any assumptions at all. One might say I was trying to learn from my mistakes.
She greeted me with a bright smile, “Greetings Juewuhl. Welcome back to Extol.”
Her smile disappeared, and while it was still brilliant, without it, her entire countenance seemed to dim.
“Did you pick up Earth humor while you were on your mission Juewuhl?”
“I’m afraid not… “
The lady sighed and her shoulders drooped slightly.
“We were afraid of this. You must come with me Juewuhl. There is much you must know.”
The woman offered me a hand and pulled me to my feet. Then she lead me through the crowd and down a path to a large white building.
White... not black.
Which is when I noticed that I wasn’t the only one wearing a white Shroud.
Everyone was wearing a white Shroud.
There certainly was a lot that I needed to know.