Memories And Wants
The cold morning breeze swept across the mountains, waking up the highland rats from their deep slumber. The icy dew crackled as the sun slowly made its way into the sky, leaving glistening grass and trees in its wake. However, such minute sounds did not reach the ears of most creatures, drowned out by the roaring waterfall that surged down all year round.
While the beautiful sky of Sapphire Lake slowly disappeared behind Richard’s back, Phaser was stumbling her way through the Land of Turmoil. Sometimes she struggled to even walk, other times running at full speed before losing her balance and falling painfully to the ground. Her eyes constantly switched from absolute clarity to complete defocus, and every once in a while she did something no creation of the broodmother’s should: she coughed.
She felt herself constantly growing weaker, a cold black fire surging within her body that she could not control. It felt like she was still drowning under that waterfall, able to do nothing but drift along with the undercurrent. As she walked, ran, crawled, and wriggled her way towards the only light in her mind, her thoughts began to blur.
Suddenly, even that light faded away. Deep in the darkness, all she could see was an incredibly faint orb that held the last vestiges of her consciousness. A weak little girl was curled up within, crying silently with her head buried deep into her knees. She seemed cold. She seemed scared.
This girl was familiar to her, a connection buried deep within her soul, but try as she might she could not remember who it was. All her remaining attention was focused on this crying little girl as she continued to writhe in the real world, unaware that black blood was pouring out of her mouth. Eventually she lost all strength, lying down on the ground without so much as breathing. Behind her was a skid mark stretching kilometres into the distance.
A hurried flapping soon rang in the sky as a cloned brain dived down from above, circling around a little before finding her on the ground. It rushed down and grabbed her before darting off into the distance.
The worm nest in the depths of the Land of Turmoil was now almost a hundred metres tall. A transparent compartment had been prepared at the very top, filled with a roiling green fluid that looked like boiling slime.
The cloned brain flew over the compartment and dropped Phaser in to the nutrient fluid. The transparent lid slowly closed as countless feelers stretched out from the inner walls, pulling her to the bottom of the pool and fixing her there. Countless sharp needles pierced through the special unit’s body, beginning the restoration.
She was standing in a completely dark space, turning her barely moving head to look at her surroundings. Everything here was black, the small orb of light gone as if it were nothing more than an illusion.
She tried her best to widen her eyes and look, intuition telling her that eyes were staring at her from behind this darkness. However, she still didn’t see anything. This darkness didn’t just blind her eyes, intruding into her consciousness itself and permeating her very soul. She almost couldn’t feel her own existence.
But that orb… The orb was all she could think of, so she refused to give up staring into the darkness. A bizarre sound started to ring within her ears, as though many things were gnawing on something but also as if countless voices were whispering. Her sense of smell slowly returned, but the fishy odour mixed with sweat made her retch.
Then came the fear, the dread, the despair. She wanted to escape, but the sound came from all directions and her paralysed body refused to listen to her commands. Savage panting started sounding nearby, and she heard something dripping onto the ground.
She felt so helpless, so scared. Forcing her still limbs to move she crouched down, sitting on the floor and hugging herself with all the might she could muster before starting to sob.
A powerful force suddenly ripped Phaser out of her dark world, returning her to consciousness. “How did you lose your self-control?” a voice rang within her mind.
Countless memories flooded back inside with a flash, reminding her that she was Phaser, the Phaser who only knew battle and thirsted for might. Valiance and cunning rushed back in to firm her heart, but now there was a trace of doubt: who was that girl in the darkness? What she felt there, what she heard, had it really happened before?
Her mind was still a little unstable. Although she had regained control and found her memories once more, all she could see around her were rainbow lights and shadows that distorted everything.
“How did you lose your self-control?” the broodmother asked again.
Phaser tried hard to recall, but could not find the source of the problem, “I don’t know. I just felt a strong desire for power so I swallowed a few drops of the cursed child’s blood.”
“You wouldn’t have been able to control the power of even one drop!” the broodmother showed a rare anger.
“I’ll pay attention next time,” Phaser said quietly.
“Your body is currently under reconstruction. Fortunately, your soul did not sustain any permanent damage. A little later, and the divine blood would have completely destroyed you! I have started comprehensive reconstruction and repair, it will take three days. You will be level 16 afterwards and can add a new ability. Is there anything you want in addition to this?”
“I… I want a human body.”
Phaser’s request caught the broodmother completely off-guard. She went silent for a few seconds; a duration that was equivalent to a month of thinking for an ordinary human.
“Phaser…” she said eventually, “You do not want a human body. You want human love.”
“Human love?” Phaser muttered to herself, “I want… love? Maybe the one who needs it isn’t me, but…”
“If you want that love, then great power is a prerequisite. As you are right now, you are too weak. If I give you a human body, you will drop to level 11 and your growth will slow down. With the current situation, it will be difficult to obtain the love you want.”
Phaser seemed a little at a loss, “Then what should I do?”
“I’ll give you a human appearance, it’s a start. Continue to grow your strength and I will continue to do what I can as well. One day, I will be able to remodel you into a complete human. Until then, focus on finding more things like this divine blood. The more you absorb, the faster you will grow.”
“A human appearance, that’s also… okay.” Phaser sank back into darkness.
Three days later, the lid of the compartment opened and Phaser slowly stood up in the depleted fluid. Her figure was now enchanting, looking no different from a normal human. The surface of her body was still covered in the natural armour, but it had shrunk to cover only the most important areas and left behind large stretches of smooth, fair skin. The armour was now exceptionally light and close-fitting, almost like another layer of skin. The mask still remained, but it was no longer as noticeable as before.
She raised her left hand only to find delicate, beautiful fingers just like on her right. It dazzled her for a moment, but a single thought caused Annihilation to swing out from the armour on her forearm. The cold glint of the blade was familiar as ever.
The confusion and hesitation in Phaser’s heart immediately disappeared, the soft sobs that were tormenting her fading away into the depths of her soul. The special unit had returned once more.
Phaser jumped out of the nutrient fluid, rolling in mid-air before using the worm nest as a foothold to make it to the ground without injury. “I’m returning,” she said to the broodmother.
“Go,” the broodmother replied, “Return to our master’s side. He needs your power.”
A quick glance into her sea of consciousness confirmed Richard’s direction, and Phaser ran into the distance with a relaxed yet powerful gait.