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Shifting Visions

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Yuji steps out of the portal and nearly chokes on the stench that greets him. It smells like rotten flesh and old blood. He can almost taste the iron on his tongue. The lighting in the area is dim and ambient; from what, he cannot tell. The ground is oddly spongey, and he can feel something guttural, too deep for him to hear. It is beyond unsettling. He nearly launches a shuriken on instinct when he turns and sees eyes, yellow and red with bizarre pupils, staring at him. They track his hands. He hates it.

The firefly comes out, questioning this ruined, demonic land as much as he is. He is too perturbed to speak but shakes his head. He has a job to do, regardless of where he is going. A moment’s meditation to clear his mind, and he feels he is ready to move forward. He nods at the firefly, assuring her that he is prepared.

Then he looks up.

The sky is a hellish purple, and the moon is close, too close. The surface is shattered, pockmarked like it had been crushed and kicked around. Pieces of it float around the ruined core of the satellite. Streaks of light pop up in the sky, presumably from the moon falling to the Earth. Horror strikes him to the core when he realizes that he is on a disgusting, fleshy peninsula of some form. The sea is a roiling, oozing purple mass, toxic and deadly. Tentacles writhe above it. He thinks he sees bodies, human bodies, being tossed about like playthings. No wonder the area stinks. He thinks he is on the remnants of his island: a horrible worst-case scenario of if he fails.

“Wh-what…” He chooses to not voice his question aloud. This is a nightmare, something that he cannot let happen. He forces down his panic, and whatever bile in his stomach that tries to come up, tries to center himself on the mission at hand.

He pulls down his mask and loses his lunch a few minutes later when a firefly opens a way to the past. Time magic, the Void, floods in to greet him. 

This is the future if he fails, he realizes. The world is on his shoulders now.

The weight of the realization nearly crushes him. 

He forces himself to fix his mask and get up after a minute. He refuses to go down easily, even if terror grips his heart in a vice. A few deep breaths of the Void’s clean air helps focus his tumultuous thoughts and shaking hands, and he moves forward again. He has a feeling that a Note is waiting at the end of this hell.