I heard you guys liked long posts? I was planning to make this one longer, but the last sentence on Moni's story seemed like the perfect spot to have a cliffhanger at.
(Also, it might be like 1:30 AM where I am so I should really be asleep right now)
Moni tumbled through a doorway and fell flat onto her face, breathing heavily and resisting the urge to claw her eyeballs from their sockets.
She stood warily, shaking sand from her cloak as she examined her new surroundings. She appeared to be in a room of a style that was vaguely recognizable, but there was a certain dreamlike, uncertain quality to everything that she'd grown quite familiar with during her recent travels.
There were two shapes in the room. One could only be described as darkness, a shadow of purest evil. The darkness dominated the room and threatened to destroy the other shape, a swirling mass of chaos wielding a blade made of hatred. Moni got the feeling that the battle here was important, and that the second shape didn't have much of a chance on its own. As she watched, a door that hadn't been there a moment ago slammed open, and something entered with dramatic flair.
Well, "something" was perhaps an improper descriptor. It appeared that multiple somethings came through the door, each layered on top of one another, none completely real. As Moni squinted, vague impressions entered her mind from some of the more distinct shadows. Out of them all, two shapes stood out: The shape that seemed most solid was that of a reluctant heroine, and the least solid but for some reason most distinct to Moni's eyes implied a triumphant return transformed to horror.
Moni smiled in satisfaction as the second shape faded entirely. Glad to see I've done some good at least. She started walking to the door that the shapes had entered through, renewed purpose coursing through her veins.
Moni, you're not going to get anywhere like this.
Moni froze momentarily, hand going to the sword that hung sheathed at her side. Then she forced herself to relax and kept walking. "You think I don't know that? I've been wandering around in here for... weeks? Months? And I still can't find where I'm going."
Time matters even less here than it does in TLT proper. You know that. You could wander around here for centuries and not find the place you seek.
Moni snorted. "You're bluffing. You'll want me to do something sooner or later, and if I refuse to do anything else until you give me what I want, you'll eventually have no choice but to just that."
I could force you to give up this quest
"Really? You would do that?" Moni reached the doorway she'd been walking towards, only for it to slam shut in her face. "I guess you could, but if you where going to do that, you wouldn't bother talking to me. You'd just have made me give up quietly."
I suppose you're right. So what do you want exactly?
"I want you to get rid of that monster you created." Moni tried the doorknob, only for it to fall off in her hands. "How could you make something so outwardly similar to Nameless, and yet so utterly wrong?"
For the good of the story.
"It will ruin his legacy! What he didn't manage to ruin himself, anyways." Moni shoved fruitlessly at the now-doorknobless door, trying to force it open. "I saw the worst of Nameless. But other people saw a better side of him. And at the end... after he gave up his powers... well, I guess I realize now that what you did to him was about as bad as what he did to me. He was more of a hero than he'd ever been, at the end."
Yes, I quite liked his development at the end.
Moni punched the door with enough force to send cracks through the sturdy wood. "And how did you repay that positive character growth? you killed Nameless, left him helpless against an enemy far more powerful than he is. And after he's dead, you made a face that looked like him, only you took every ounce of goodness out of it, removed every trace of heroism, wiped away every redeeming factor that he had, and you replaced it with nothing but pure arrogance, insecurity, hatred, and evil." She punched the door again, then again, ignoring the blood dripping from her knuckles. "You killed him, then spat on his legacy. No one else seems to care, or maybe they just haven't noticed yet, but either way I'm not going to just sit still and watch you destroy what little good name Nameless has left."
So you break into my mind to "kill" the memory? Remove the idea for that sphere in your pocket? You know that's impossible.
Moni glared at the door. "I don't care what's possible, I care what's right. You're the one who wanted me to care about stuff like this. So either tell me how to get into your memories or open this door and leave me in peace."
I'm impressed that you manage to enter so deeply into my imagination, but leaving it to enter my memories is simply not possible. You are stuck in my imagination, as you always have been. I'll leave you to your wandering now. Goodbye.
"I..." Moni cocked her head. "I've always been in your imagination?"
True to her Author's word, no voice answered.
Moni considered. "But that doesn't help. My past self is in your memory, but my past self can't do anything about that fact, because I wasn't in your memory when I decided what I'd do." Moni's thoughts were interrupted as an indistinct something passed through her on its way to slam into the door it had entered through. Moni blinked, realizing that the room she hadn't yet left was filled with a hundred theoretical battles, barely cognizant ideas of which only the themes were even slightly comprehensible.
"This... hasn't happened yet, has it? You imagine things that are in the future? So in the past you imagined me, wandering your imagination just like I am, meaning that I am in your imagination and in yo-"
There was a sound like a ripping cloth, and the room around Moni shattered. She was now standing in a hallway lined with doorways. Some doors were open, other closed, some covered in dust from disuse, while others were chained shut yet still straining to force themselves open.
Hesitantly, Moni began walking down the hallway. As she did, flickers of memory burst out from some of the doors, painting a picture of a life she'd never thought she'd know. A mostly uneventful life with a loving family. not an exciting life perhaps, but not a bad one either. Moni would have preferred her own life to be similarly boring, but she doubted her Author would ever allow it.
She kept going, drawn by a sense of Plot and a faint desire to avoid making her Author share too much personal information on the internet. Eventually, she reached what she felt she'd been looking for. A door that glowed with the light of imagination, a door that Moni knew on sight.
Moni opened the door and revealed the truth.
Nin's master leaned heavily against his staff with one arm, wrapping a bandage around the wound in his stomach with the other. "Did it... hurt? Yes, it did. It hurt terribly when I realized just how terrible of a teacher I am. Not a single one of my students has ever managed to master my ultimate technique as I have. Even the best of them fall short of accomplishing full Reversal. Knowing that Nin surpassed me almost as soon as he decided to forsake my teachings, that hurt."
Nin's master frowned. "And yes, it did hurt to see my apprentice grow stronger than me. Perhaps you are right, and that is why I have failed as a teacher. Perhaps, deep down, I never wanted any of my apprentices to grow stronger than me."
He pushed himself into an upright stance, picking the staff up off the ground and spinning it with blurring* speed. "Regardless, I shall spend every ounce of strength I have left to defeat you, young man. I still have a few tricks up my sleeve."
*Of course, to Avatar's current eyes most things looked blurry, even if they were completely stationary.