• Published 22nd Feb 2021
  • 4,119 Views, 131 Comments

The Endeavor of the Damned Shadows - dannny43



After having been stripped of everything but name, awakening to a strangely familiar world, and having all of his reality turned on its head, Austin Merkelo is determined to return to Earth, sparing no caution, effort, or opportunity.

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Chapter 4: Opened Eyes.

Peace.

Happiness.

Love.

An all-encompassing aura of tranquility permeated in and all around me, like all of life's woes and worries had evaporated away, to be forgotten. Bliss reigned supreme and steadfast when my head had regained cognitive function and failed to perceive any thoughts of inquiry or danger.

I could not begin to explain what I felt within this moment of awareness... everything was beyond comprehending further than just experiencing this moment alone. I was acutely aware without a hint of a hindrance to my thought process, no foggy head or damaged senses, but for the life of me... I was not capable or I could not bring myself to shed a hint of worry or fear or anything negative nor did I feel anything other than complete and utter content. If it were my choice, I would have just existed within this spot I found myself in for all eternity.

Speaking of this spot, I found myself sitting on the top of a grassy hill with a single mighty fruit-bearing tree at the very peak. The view this hill provided was second to none.

The most beautiful and brightest sun I ever had the chance to witness splayed itself across what could only be described as a heavenly sky of colors and constellations. Things beyond my comprehension or capability to describe were dancing across the heavens with vigor and wonderment. Colors that I had never before seen and shapes that could break the mortal mind worked themselves across this ocean of... words were failing me, for all I can do is simply witness this immaculate display. I should have been questioning what I was witnessing, freaking out with the display of mind-breaking objects and textures, and resolving to understand my current situation... but deep down I had an inkling of where I was.

It was then that I had a sudden... urge, or instinct that made itself fully known to me. An instinct that told me to turn around and walk into a sprawling lush forest of plants that I once again could not begin to describe but could full-heartedly take pleasure in their unparalleled beauty.

I wasn't alone. I don't know how but I knew I wasn't alone. There were...beings all around me, I could feel them. They were disembodied blobs of light and energy, vaguely in the shape of humans, some looked smaller like animals, and others... I had no frame of reference. I was different, standing out like a sore thumb, I was more... solid than them? More...alive.

There were at least a million surrounding me in a ten-foot radius alone, each one emitting the same feelings of content and sheer joy and love, not only for themselves and each other... but for me as well.

The closer I came to where my instincts guided me, the stronger these feelings emanated. I didn't know who or what these beings were, but there was a bond that connected me to them, that much I could feel. They spoke in so many languages and accents that it ultimately blended together into incoherent noise that should I have been in the same situation back on earth, would have been deafening, yet the air held a calm volume.

Eventually, I came to a circular clearing within the forest that revealed the biggest tree I had ever laid eyes on. Straight from Avatar, existed a grand tree of epic proportions with every inch teeming with beings like the ones surrounding me, but the tree was not my destination.

Instead, I was guided to a small cove just on the edge of the forest. The cove was about the size of a standard family living room, enough space to fit countless billions of the beings that surrounded me, and yet it was shockingly devoid of... life.

My instincts told me I was in the correct spot, which I had to assume was reserved only for myself as none of the beings around me came within the cove themselves, staying just outside the boundary.

It was here that I became aware of a few distinct voices, one male and one female, that became clearer to pick out from the crowd as they seemed to move ever closer to my position. It seemed the female voice was closing in first, "Vamos, muévalo. Está justo aquí. Puedo sentirlos."

"Vengo, vengo. No soy un pollo spry. Rosea, cariño, por favor, baja la velocidad, no van a ninguna parte." The male voice replied.

"Ah, esconda el lloriqueo, están aquí, Iglesio. Vamos, levanta los pies. No queremos llegar tarde."

At last, I could feel the beings break from the crowd and enter my little cove. A few seconds afterwards, the aura of love and joy that was emitted by all of the beings, these two included, seemed to doubl- no triple from these two alone as they came ever closer to me. The bond that connected me to them was stronger than the countless others. The female being seemed to rush me in greeting just before stopping shy of myself, "¡Oh, mis dulces estrellas! Iglesio, ¡Mira! ¡mirar! ¡Es Austin! ¡Es Austin! ¡Está aquí! ¡Por fin está aquí!"

The female voice continued, "¿Dónde ha estado Austin? Hace mucho que lo atrasado. ¡Oh dulce Señor misericordioso, es tan bueno verte otra vez! ¡Mira a ti! ¡usted ha crecido tanto! ¡Por qué usted era apenas un pequeño bebé que rebotaba en mi rodilla hace tanto tiempo pero mira ahora! ¡Tan guapo, mi pequeño niño pedregoso del bebé! ¿Recuerdas a la abuela Rosea, no?"

The male voice piped up, "Rosea, creo que algo anda mal. Míralo, es diferente de todos nosotros."

Exchanging glances between the two, I finally found my voice to let them know my predicament, "...I'm sorry, but I don't speak Spanish. I... um, yo no hablo...espanola?"

I could perfectly picture the confused face of the female being when it started talking again, "¿No nos entiende? ¿Cómo no nos entiende, Iglesio? Él está aquí ahora, no entiendo."

"Como dije, algo no está bien. Sabía que Jauleno debería haberles enseñado a ambos cuando eran niños, quién sabe por qué no lo hizo. Ah, aquí viene Loredo. ¡Loredo! ¡Por aquí! ¡Necesitamos ayuda!" With that spoken, the male voice seemed to call over to another group of distinct beings that came ever closer. Not long after, one from the group came to the male being and they seemed to converse to each other in regards to myself. "Y eso es todo. Cualquiera que sea el caso que está sucediendo aquí, ir a buscar Jauleno. Este es su asunto. Eso es lo que sé." The conversation over, the new being quickly departed just as the rest of the group joined and soon enough, I found myself surrounded and figuratively overwhelmed by their good natured presence and Spanish-speaking inquiries.

"¡Vaca santa! Es Austin."

"¡Austin! Hey hombre cómo estás haciendo! ¡Me alegro de verte! ¿Dónde has estado todos estos años?"

"¿Te acuerdas de mí? ¿Primo José? Te di un dron a control remoto para su duodécimo cumpleaños?"

"¿Dónde está Jauleno? ¿Dónde están los otros?"

"Alguien va a buscar a Jauleno. ¡Su Hijo finalmente está aquí!"

"¿Jauleno? ¿Jauleno? ¿Dónde estás? ¡Tienes que llegar aquí rápido!"

"¡Ahí está! ¡eh! Jauleno! ¡aquí! ¡aquí! Austins aquí!"

One after another, calling out to me or others in their language. They knew who I was, knew my name and everything while I failed to recognize any of them. Instead, I noted how my bond to them only seemed to increase with each different entity I encountered. Eventually, though, one being demanded my immediate attention the moment they came within my range of detection. An all too familiar signature came to eventually rush towards me faster than any of the others did, and before I knew it, he was before me. Many emotions were flaring up at that moment and the ever-increasing urge to cry grew in me, but while I was here, I could do no such thing. The other beings withdrew themselves, happy to let us share a moment. Words failed me, at the most crucial point that I needed them. Instead, I allowed myself to reach towards him and both give and receive a hug.

There we stood for what seemed days, ignoring all others and entering a zone of us alone. I wanted to bawl my eyes out like a baby then and there. No words were exchanged yet, as we continued to embrace each other, the bond between us the strongest of all others. I took note of the unique and almost just as strong bonds of several others just barely within my range outside of the cove, perhaps many others who equally wished to share their moment with me like this. Eventually, He pulled back from the embrace, his aura shining far brighter than all others, "Austin."

That voice, how I wished dearly to hear his voice back home. "Austin, what are you doing here? I wasn't expecting you this soon."

I tried again to express myself in any way possible, but just as before, my voice was lacking. "Austin, I...I'm so sorry... for leaving you as I did... If only I had listened! None of you would have gone through with any of that. I would have lived for another twenty or so years. Time and again ya'll warned me and I never Listened... until it was too late. Mijo, nothing I can say will ever make up for my mistake, but I want you to know that never in my life had I been more regretful of my life choices than I was in that hospital. Had I managed to pull through, I would have been forever a changed man. But my selfishness proved to be far stronger than my convictions."

"I know," I finally managed to squeak, "I...know. Believe me, I'm trying my hardest to prove myself from the fat, lazy, slob I was before all this."

"I've been keeping tabs Austin. I'm so proud of the road you're now taking. I just wish It didn't take my death to finally push you."

"I'm sorry... I'm so sorry... I didn't amount to much in my life but I always thought that you'd stick around longer, just long enough to see me accomplish something, anything! Instead I waisted away on that... fricken computer. Playing, eating, and sleeping was all I amounted to when I could have had a job, or finished college, or done anything else! When you left us, I was so under-prepared to deal with anything that I was next to useless to Joel, Mom, and everyone else that mattered. I should have listened to you from the start...b-but I took you for granted. I'm sorry."

"Austin, I was happy that you got to live the way you did. Time and again I would tell you that you were young, that you didn't need to think about college or jobs or anything like that yet. Perhaps I urged you too much and should have cut back on you, but I wanted to make sure that you had memorable and enjoyable memories for you to look back upon when you get to my age and have a job and a family to take care of. I didn't get to enjoy my childhood all that much let me remind you. Nine to five out in those fields, making little pay, scrounging every cent I could just to get a chance into college. I had no life, no time in the world to do what I wanted. I've worked all my life just to give you those moments of freedom for you to enjoy and you did make the most of it. Of course, nobody could have predicted what was to come. I failed you, in regards to preparing you for the bigger world as I only barely managed to do so for Joel, but hindsight is always twenty-twenty, and there's no point in reflecting on that."

I was going to respond but He managed to beat me to it, "Austin, As much as I wish we could catch up and make further amends, your time is coming up. You being here is not the end I'm afraid. You're caught in a pickle that's too sour for my taste and it's only just beginning. I wish I could help you Mijo, but all we can do is give you our love and prayers. There are quite a few of the family that have been waiting a long time to finally see you again, but they will have to wait a little longer. You'll be seeing us again Austin, in time."

I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I'm finally seeing him again and I have to leave? NO! I won't allow it! Again I embrace myself to him, refusing to let go. "No! I-I can't leave, I just got here, I have to say goodbye! ...I didn't say it before." With my eyes closed, I could swear I felt tears running down my cheeks.

"I know, Austin. And you will, next time. But right now, we need you to open your eyes."

I refused, I didn't want to leave yet. I knew the moment I was gone from this place I would forget any of this ever happened. Life and death were just that cruel sometimes.

"You'll remember everything next time Austin, but this is how it is supposed to be. Please, Son. Open your eyes."

I didn't want to.

"Please, open your eyes."

I didn't wish to.

"Austin, open them."

Not yet.

"Open them."

No...

Wait!

"Da-"


Open them.

"-ad!" I screamed into the open void of darkness. My heart was racing a mile a minute and the memories of what just happened filtered from my mind like water down a drain. Before I knew it, any trace of my father or anything else from before, ceased to be, leaving me confused as to why I screamed for him.

My moment of confusion was dashed away when I surveyed the ocean of suns and stars before me. I appeared to be laying on a literal road of stars that provided a distinct path towards who knows where.

There was a calm silence that was occasionally broken by the little audible twinkles of the stars all around.

The star road seemed to extend far beyond my field of vision, further and deeper into the starry void.

Looking this way and that, I caught sight of my somehow fully restored wings on my back and a quick check of my noggin revealed the same for my horn.

That's when it struck me, I was still a horse. Remembering back on what just happened, I recalled I was falling to the ground but Luna managed to catch me.

However, I was able to successfully fight her until she was forced to release me and never managed to retrieve me a second time, and then...huh, I met the ground and... something happened.

While I should have been livid or swearing up a storm or crying and begging for the dream to end right then and there, that something that had happened was eating at my mind more so than anything else, but what, and for why?

Before I could ponder further, something rather bizarre passed by me at the last second for me to notice. It was a flat... um, screen thing or a picture of Twilight and the element bearers on some adventure or something. But what caught my eye was how they looked, which was exactly like they did in the cartoon. Then another screen passed me by, displaying Discord and Spike, talking about hooves and hearts or something, again they looked like their cartoon counterparts.

Another Screen, and another and another, each displaying something that happened within the cartoon, a bee bug bear thing, a little buffalo, the Storm King, Celest-... wait the who king?

Backing myself up, I looked over the scene of some yeti-looking thing with some staff waving it around like a wand, messing with the weather. Looking at the thing I...knew his name... The Storm King. But he doesn't exist yet. He doesn't show up till the movie which happens around season seven and... wait how do I know that? I know it because... I...remember. Remember... everything. Looking around yet again, I, sure enough, remember how this scene plays out, or how that episode ended, or what lesson they learned in this one... How? How do I remember this stuff? All this happened years ago, at least over a decade.

Walking down the star road trying to come to terms with my newfound memories, I almost fail to realize, I was no longer alone.

Standing off to my right side, there stood Luna, her unwavering gaze fixated solely on one particular scene. The scene of Twilight and Nightmare Moon at a standoff, the broken remnants of the elements at her very hooves.

The scene played just like he remembered, Twilight monologuing about each friend and their tied connection to the elements and each other, and the eventual climax of Nightmare Moon's demise before the scene replays once again.

Luna lingers on the scene a few seconds more before turning directly towards me, an ire within her eye once more with an added scowl and displayed teeth to measure, "You stupid stallion. You simple-minded mane-tearing suicidal Fopdoodle! You...you...RAAAGHHHH!!!" Any further insults she wished to throw were instead converted into a rage-induced mana blowback that hurled Austin clean across the star road, leaving him in a heap.

Untangling himself from...himself, Austin was expecting more blowbacks but instead, he heard the sounds of tears and wails being shed from Luna. "...Why? Why did you do it? Why couldn't you have believed in me? Trusted my word? Am I not reliable enough to garner your faith? So much so that ending yourself was the better alternative than I? My ponies already fail to attend my night court as it is, that after all this time they still withhold themselves unto us. And you would do the same as well?"

"...I...but that's not....no. Luna I... I had to leave then and there... I had no choice I couldn't wai-"

"CEASE YOUR EXCUSES! Time and again your senses warn you of your mind's shortcoming but I was a fool to think you'd believe them let alone me! Did you not feel the fear before the end? The horror of it all crashing down till that very last moment? Answer me this!"

"...Y-yes. Yes I did. The fear, the horror... the regret. I felt it, Luna, as real as can be, but would you have saved me, I would have gladly gone for it again."

"In all that is right with the world, why?!"

"Because this must end! Goddammit, it has to! This has gone long enough but it just won't end! I've tried everything but nothing works! I have to wake up, I have to go to class and have to get that goddamn job and I have to help my family! I can't afford to be late, to waste time or hours while I'm still stuck in here."

I feel myself settle down onto the floor, a quick rest after my pent-up anger was released, "None of this makes sense Luna, nothing continues to make sense anymore. I'm tired. So tired. I just want this to end, by any means possible, and I'm out of options. ...I'm scared."

Not long after admitting this, Luna carried herself until she was to my side and also laid herself down, "...You have yet to confide unto me, Austin. Have yet to still open your eyes. If what you say is true... then will you finally allow me to guide you? Will you let us help you? Can you trust me?"

Taking a second to look within her, I can see the sheer weight of what my answer holds, the pleading eyes she wears is too real for my liking, "Whatever Luna, brain, conscience, whatever. I'm at wit's end, I'm done trying to make sense of anything anymore. Just do whatever you need to and please end this for me. I want to go home."

"Austin please, this is not a dre-... I will no longer hold myself to the belief that my words alone will change anything. You are the only obstacle remaining for yourself Austin, you will have to break your wool from your eyes on your own. Only then can I help." With that, we both remained next to each other in silence, taking view of the passing screens as they go by.

"I almost don't care anymore, but humor me, where are we? I remember this place, the place where Celestia took Twilight to ascend."

"I had a small hope that being here would unlock your memories of the supposed 'fictional realm' from whence we hailed from for me to see. I must say, the moment of time these memories hold is shockingly exact and detailed for what they entail. The moment of Nightmare Moon's end was an exact replay of what truly happened. I had little doubt left before, but now I know what you claimed from the meeting is true. To answer your question, we are in the Astral Plane, the realm of the Alicorns. Here is where those that are worthy are judged and deemed fit of being bestowed the magic of alicorns or not. Not only that, but this is also the spiritual home of all alicorns. When you fell to your death mere moments ago, your spirit was transferred here to begin the healing process for your physical avatar."

"Woah wait, physical avatar? You're saying that just dying physically isn't enough to stay dead?"

"Of course. We are beings of Immense magic Austin, far surpassing every other creature on Equis. Should our lives be ended by physical damage alone, my sister and I would have perished long ago. Now, this isn't to say we are invincible, far from it, but we can take our fair share of damage before having to retreat here to recover."

"Huh, good to know. Being immortal sounds horrible enough. Hey wait a second, If that's the case then why does it matter if I die to the disease or not if it can't truly kill me?"

"Because nopony in their right mind would allow the senseless death of others if they can prevent it? Not to also mention the excruciating pain you would endure should you let the disease progress far enough. Austin what you need to understand is that Tia and I have rarely, if ever, been severely injured, let alone succumb to death itself. We may be connected to the Astral Plane, but we have yet to fully understand how it works or functions. There is a chance of unforeseen consequences should you neglect yourself for too long."

"God, this shit just never ends, one thing after another."

"In good time, all will be right for you Austin. I can sense your body is fully healed and you should be waking up to the hospital any moment now. I'll be there to help you, I promise."

"Luna, Wait! I can't take this shit anymore. I believe in you, I should have before but I do now, so please, please, please, for the sake of my sanity, tell me that when I wake up... this will all be over."

"Austin, Trust in me. Trust in me that we will get through this together. I know you can make it through this, I know you will pull through, you have to."

The void was being replaced with an inky darkness that swarmed across every part of my vision until the figure of Luna along with everything else was wiped away.


The rhythmic beeps of the heart machine were, hopefully for the last time, heard once again as I recovered from the depths of slumber. The smell of antiseptic prevailed in the air as well as the sharp scent of alcohol surrounding my head. The sounds of medical personnel going about their stations outside were the only noise that combated the silence within my room. Having been through the same routine once before and again, I still hoped above all else that this time was the final hurdle and that I was now officially back into the waking human world. I believed in Luna, believed in myself, and with everything that had happened, that was about all I had left to go for, hope above all else that this was finally done.

... It was not meant to be.

The sound of the door opening and closing followed by those goddamn sounds of hooves once again met my ears. Slight shivering and a few hiccups gave away my conscious status as I desperately tried to prevent myself from crying in front of the doc, "Mr. Merkelo. ...I cannot begin to express my disappointment in your actions from yesterday. Princess Luna has relayed to me all that I needed to know.... I'm sorry, that was unprofessional of me to... *sigh* Well, anyway, you don't seem to be in the best position right now but I'm afraid while I'm already here, I might as well rip the band-aid and come clean with the news. Whatever happened to you, seems to have fully healed your body physically as your horn and wings are in peek health...for now. That was the only good news. We were able to identify Necrotizing Fasciitis within your horn and wings once again and we were able to confirm that the magical circulation did not reestablish itself within either part despite our best hopes and wishes. Based on our calculations, we are able to give you a time frame of what you should expect from here on out. You have a ten-day total period of recovery and recession. It will take more or less a week for your body's full recovery and an approximate three or so days for the disease to progress to the point of necessitating immediate medical attention. These calculations are only a theory despite the news I've given you, but we should be able to test its accuracy within thirteen days after the next operation has gone under."

"...Ha...hahaha... it never ends. It never ends. It never ends......"

"...I'll... leave you be for now. I shall Inform the Princesses that you're awake."

With that the doc left, leaving behind a broken human, alone to his own thoughts.

It doesn't end. It won't end. It never ends. Will it ever end? Find out next time on Dragon Ball Z! Hehehe, hehahahahah HAHAHAHA! Oh wait, wait, wait, wait! There, that's it! Dragons! They got hands, hands that can pinch! I haven't tried pinching myself yet! The simplest thing to do when your dreaming and I haven't done it yet! HAHAHAHAHAHA, Oh I feel like a complete DUMBASS HAHAHAHA. After all this time and only now do I realize how to get out of here! God, I'm fucking stupid hahahahaha. Oh man, where the fuck is Spike?! Back in fucking Ponyville no doubt, and I'm still in Canterlot, fuck! Luna will never let me go, not after what I pulled, not so soon. Ya know what? Fuck Spike! I don't need him! No, I'll grow some hands instead! Yeah! I'll get a lab, hahaha, get some samples and shit, and grow me some fucking lizard arms and just stick that shit onto my back or something and it'll just fucking work because magic! HAHAHAHA! Foolproof! HAHAHAH-

"Give it a rest will you? For fuck's sake."

Silence washed away everything at the moment, replaced by mind-numbing fear as a presence made itself known. An oppressive aura confounded my body to stillness as a figure of shadows from the corner of the room emerged to life. This figure was no pony, or griffon or dragon or any other race of this world, nor was it even human.

"You're a fucking broken record at this point, we get it, you continue to think this is nothing but a dream and are too stubborn to believe otherwise. I think it's time we move on from this, I'm getting bored watching you keep going in circles." The shadow inched itself closer to me, each step spiking my heart to ever-increasing speeds. The aura that blanketed the room seemed to have frozen time itself as all outside activity and sounds ceased to be.

"I will admit, it was entertaining, watching you go through all those mental gymnastics just to keep your sanity in check, but like what Woona's been saying for like ever, the only thing stopping your little story from progressing further is yourself, and I'm afraid the Eyes of the Void are becoming restless, and so have I. Could have saved yourself a lot of trouble Austin, if you just listened to Woona, just accepted that all of this was real and moved on. But nope! Nada! No chance were you going to give these cute little itty-bitty ponies the thought of being real, and honestly, I can't blame you for that. Just look at the damn things, so happy, so friendly, so...naïve, it's disgusting. But what can you expect from a children's cartoon huh?"

"Anyway, back to where I was, you could have saved yourself the trouble that's coming. So many times and chances where you were just on the brink of accepting and believing all this to be real and had you, you would be a hundred times better off than now. But that stubbornness stood its ground and kept saying 'No! No, I will not accept this girly farce of a fictional world to be true because it simply can't be true!'. And you know what? That's what I love the most about you Austin, it's why I chose you. Your determination, your refusal to believe what your very eyes have seen, your drive to keep going when you have something in mind, something that matters to you, something... like your family. You would not believe the number of people I screened through until I finally found you, Austin. None of them had your drive or will or determination to go back home, or even attempted to reject what they saw before themselves. Every, single, person, simply accepted that they were in Equestria, or that they were now a pony, or didn't even bother to understand how or why they were here in the first place. Do you want to know one of the first things almost all of them did once they knew what was happening? They pulled an Ethan and decided on heading straight for Ponyville and to meet Titty Sprinkle and the others as soon as possible. Ya know what happened afterward? They went on Adventures or fell in love or settled down permanently and never once bothered to look back onto their humanity, it was frankly quite sad and somewhat shocking how they all equally despised and betrayed their humanity or didn't care for it at all."

"But that's what separates them from you, Austin. You won't betray your humanity, you won't simply give in without a fight. You have so much potential, and I can't wait to see how you play it out. But my whole spiel doesn't fucking matter for a damn second if you aren't willing to move forward and accept the truth. I commemorate your stubbornness, I really do, it added flavor to your blooming story, but enough is enough. I'm sure the Eyes don't want to watch you waste time trying to somehow grow dragon arms just to pinch yourself. You sure as shit ain't no Weiss Noir. No, I'm just gonna have to forcefully open them eyes up. Like I said before, could have saved yourself the trouble. Now, this little task may cause some 'slight' insanity but if you're truly serious about your family, then I'm sure you'll pull through somehow. Hold still now."

The entity had maneuvered itself just to the side of me during its whole talk and upon finishing, It drew its hand above my head and with a simple swipe from one side to the other, it removed the wool I had placed upon myself. It felt like cool water crawled down my spine as the entity did its work.

And just like that, everything I once believed and understood about the universe, about what was real and fake, was instantly flipped on its head. This world was real, everything I had witnessed, heard, and experienced was all real. I was not a human anymore, I was a pony. I was real. This was real. All of it, was real.

"...I... am oddly calm right now, and yet the world has ended. Why is that?"

"That would be from my aura, I wanted to have a civilized chit-chat with you and this is the only thing stopping you from going bat-shit insane. How do you feel?"

"I...I.... are... are you... God?"

"...Hehehe... you really think your god would do something like this? Guess again."

"...Th-Th-Th-The... D-D-D-D-....Devil...."

"HA! Hehehehe, Oh man, you should see the look on your face right now, now that is art. Look Austin, I don't particularly consider myself a cruel entity, so I won't bother messing with your faith and hope, after all, without that what's the point in doing anything? No, I am not your God or Devil, I'm so much more and yet so much less. Confusing isn't it? All in good time Austin. Well, I've done about all I came here to do and I will now be taking my leave. Before I go however there's a little thing I've been rehearsing for some time now, Austin, and just in case it somehow hasn't fully set in yet, this will tell you all you need to know."

"This was not Ethan's dream, this is not your nightmare, this is reality. Awaken."

It was gone before I knew what happened, along with the numbing aura. It took only a few seconds for me to 're-awaken' back into the world. The real world. A few seconds, before everything came crashing down.

Author's Note:

A big Thank you to Shadestyle for allowing me to reference his character "Weiss Noir", if you haven't yet, check out his fic here.