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When Finn woke up from his long slumber, he felt a gentle weight over his chest and the rest of his body. It felt suspiciously like a warm blanket. He could feel bandages wrapped around his eyes and body, mainly around the right side of his chest where that… 'thing' had stabbed him.

Finn soon realized he was lying in a bed, despite being unable to see.

But the problem was… where?

The last thing he remembered was the voice of the mysterious robot that had performed some sort of scan on him. Something about imminent death and zero chance of survival…

Yet here he was, perfectly fine. Sure, his body ached a bit all around, but he was still alive, by some miracle.

Finn tried to sit up on the bed, but his arms suddenly gave out as he did so, causing him to collapse back into his pillow.

"Ngh…" he groaned in pain.

[I wouldn't recommend doing that.]

"Huh…?"

[I may have been able to save you from the brink of death, but your body is still extremely weak. Any strength I gave you from before is now all lost, and my own power is also low due to using it all up to keep you alive.]

"You're that female voice that talked to me in my head…" Finn murmured to himself. "If you really did save me, I owe you one, but before that… who — or should I say, what — even are you?"

In an instant, Finn's world turned from pure black into a vaporwave sunset style dimension of some sort, filled with turquoise, purple, and pinks. In this world, he could see — not lost to the eternal nightmare of blindness.

"Welcome to a Reality Rift."

Finn immediately spun around to see where the voice came from, and there, he saw a lone girl in the sky. Judging from appearances alone, she seemed to be the same age as him or around it, but there was just one quality about her that made her almost seem… inhuman.

She was too perfect.

She had long pink hair and white skin as pure as snowflakes, paired with two beautiful, starry eyes that shone a crystal-like gradient orange, to yellow, to pink. There were no visible flaws or blemishes whatsoever on her perfectly proportioned body, and she wore a faint smile on her face.

But the most attractive and attention-drawing feature of her was exactly what made her inhuman.

Two massive white wings sprouted out of her back, feathery and pure. They were like that of an angel, luminous and magnificent. They flapped gently as she hovered in the air like a graceful divine existence, looking down at Finn.

She wore an elegant white robe that complimented her wings and showed off her curves, especially her ample and round breasts. Truly, she was the embodiment of perfection.

Rather than entrance Finn, however, this flawless appearance of hers only served to make him more suspicious.

"A reality rift? What's that?" he asked, confused at what the voice had said.

"A reality rift is a gap in space-time — a false, paradoxical concept that cannot exist in the real world. That's why you are able to see in here, despite being blind."

"If it doesn't exist… then why and how am I here?"

"Think of this as a dream, Finn. A dream that can affect the real you."

"… I see," Finn said, narrowing his eyes. He wasn't at all surprised that this girl knew his name already, given how she was able to speak in his head.

The girl paused and blinked in surprise. "Ara~ you accepted it that easily?"

Finn sighed and looked away at the vaporwave-style scenery beyond the horizon in the distance. "I'm not stupid. I used to think anything not scientifically proven was false. Anything that could not be logically justified with common sense was just bullshit."

After a brief, dramatic pause, he continued. "But after seeing those… Ghosts, murder humans with my own two eyes… it would be difficult to still blindly believe in science, wouldn't it?"

Saying this, he glanced down and observed the bandages on his naked chest. "This wound… it taught me a lesson. And the scar it will leave behind… will serve as a painful memory to remind me never to forget that."

Hearing this, the girl grinned.

"Well, that saves me a lot of trouble. I was expecting to have to do some magic tricks or something to convince you, but you are better than I originally thought. Fufufu... I knew you were interesting — looks like my judgment wasn't wrong."

Finn snorted. "You still haven't answered my original question. Who are you, and how are you able to bring me into reality rifts like this?"

"My official name is Artificial Reality Xenobiotic Apparatus, A.R.X.A. for short. But I don't really like that name, due to… certain reasons. So, you may call me Zelestria instead. That was my old name, before I… "

Finn was confused at what she was about to say, but Zelestria shook her head and just trailed off.

"Why did you give me that power? Why me?" He asked, wanting to figure out this girl's motives. "Are you just exceptionally kind? An angel?"

"Not really. I'm not helping you for no reason, as there is something I need you to do. As for why you in particular... fufu, it's because I could see a determination — or perhaps, stubbornness — in you I've never seen in anyone else. You fit the criteria for the type of person I am looking for, and you just so happened to be on the verge of death. I figured, why not?"

"So… let me get this straight. You roped me into a deal with you forcefully, without even talking to me about this beforehand, and now you're telling me I have to do something in return."

"I did save your life," she said, chuckling evilly.

"That's…" Finn wanted to argue, but eventually just gave up. "Well. That's a fair point. So, mind telling me the specifics of our deal now? What 'thing' do you need me to do?"

"You want to take revenge against the Ghosts, no? I will give you the power to do that, despite you not being born with the talent for it. For now, you don't need to know what the task I need you to do is, since you're nowhere close to being strong enough for it. But when the time comes…"

"Hold on," Finn interjected. "How am I supposed to accept this deal when you're not even telling me what your conditions are?"

"You… don't. As in, you already accepted it the moment you answered my question yesterday."

"Your question…"

"C'mon, you know I'm talking about~ 'Do you seek vengeance, all that. I sounded really professional, didn't I?" Zelestria cackled like a devil as Finn clenched his fists.

"… Tch. I don't like you, but as I said, I owe you one for saving my life. I'll put the matter of your conditions aside for now. Instead… tell me more about the 'powers' you gave me. As long as I can erase those pests from this world, I'm willing to sacrifice anything."

The girl smiled suggestively. "Good... very good."

"You also mentioned something about 'talent', which I didn't have…" Finn continued. "Oh, and the true nature of Ghosts too. What even are they, really?"

"You'll find out soon enough."

"What? Wai-"

But Zelestria just smiled seductively and snapped her fingers.

"...!"

Finn wanted to fight back, but his surroundings suddenly went black once more as he was returned to the real world.

*****

"Damn her…" Finn muttered as he sat up in his bed, slowly this time.

[I can hear you, you know~] Zelestria's unmistakable voice whispered in his head as he clutched his head in pain, struck by a sudden headache.

"Ugh… stop...!"

[Fufu... how cute~]

Suddenly, Finn heard the sound of a door being kicked open, and the discomfort went away.

"Woah, woah, woah, what's with all the screaming in her- oh, you're alive," a boy interrupted. Finn instinctively turned in the direction of the voice, but he was still blind and therefore couldn't see.

"Wow… to think ya really survived. That's the first time Reaper's analysis was wrong, ya know. Heh," the boy chuckled.

'Reaper…?' Finn thought.

[The robot that technically saved your life. Well, it was me who did most of the work, but he helped too... kind of.] Zelestria helpfully explained in Finn's head.

"Who are you…? And where am I?" Finn asked the boy, hoping to get some answers.

"Hell yeah, the classic lines of an amnesiac protagonist!" The boy laughed. "Hold on, amigo. I'm not the best at explaining stuff, so I'll go get my boss. He'll tell ya everything."

Finn heard the sound of footsteps leaving the room. Then, after some talk that seemed to be coming from downstairs — though it was too far away for Finn to hear clearly — the footsteps returned. This time, however, they were heavier, and there seemed to be multiple sets of them.

A chair was dragged across the floor, and a man sat down on it, close to Finn's bed.

"How are you feeling?" The man asked out of concern, with a low male voice that sounded like he was in his thirties.

"I'm… fine."

"He says while being wrapped in bandages like a mummy," the boy from earlier laughed hysterically.

[Subject-AC3 analysis completed. Lie detected. Condition: Severely Injured. Recovery in progress.] A familiar robot — though Finn couldn't be sure if it was the same one since all robots had the same monotone voice — exposed his tough demeanor.

"Alright, alright, you two… settle down," the thirty-year-old man sighed, as if he was used to dealing with the two of them. "Our friend here must be very confused, huh? But before that… I would like you to tell me something. This is very important, so I'd like you to answer me truthfully."

"… What?" Finn asked, gripping the blanket tightly.

Everyone fell quiet as the man spoke. Immediately, silent tension filled the air, making Finn feel slightly uncomfortable.

"The Phantoms… did you see them?"

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About the author

Cyclxne

  • Cyclxne

Bio: "To survive is to suffer, but to live, is to find some meaning in that suffering."

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