The Let's Play Archive

Head AS Code

by Mix

Part 36: jASmine

It's time for the last branch in this section of the flowchart- this time, we're going to completely undermine A and go with Jasmine, keeping the twins together. :v:

BGM: Algorithm Simile
The decision was coming back to me again. I did want to go with the twins, but Jasmine might've found something in the laboratory. She was also more familiar. Then again, if I picked her, all this fight about splitting up the twins would be for naught.

She was staring at me too, pressuring me into picking her despite her earlier words. How two-faced! H was a little bit like Jasmine in this way; she was taking charge and she was not afraid of anything. This was an odd change for Jasmine, admittedly. Had those four years affected her that much? I could also head out with G. She was calmer, but smarter. She also had her shy moments, and I kinda wanted to try pulling her out of her shell.

No matter which one I wanted to go with, I had to pick now.

BGM: Ambient Strain

Well, that was a good thought experiment, wasn't it?

What are you talking about?

The whole... “splitting up” thing, you know?

I still don't understand. What's a thought experiment?

Um... What I'm saying is that all of it was just... not... really a real suggestion?

She was still puzzled by my sudden outburst. I had to find some kind of reason to explain why I wanted to go back to Jasmine.

I see... Aren't there easier ways to do that?

G, he's saying we can go together, so who cares?

Jasmine was also slightly puzzled, but she didn't let it show. Instead, she understood what I meant to do and clapped her hands together.

Perfect, then! Let's go down and wait for the train.

Wait, shouldn't a pair stay here to contact the others?

Yeah, I thought about that...

She wasn't entirely decided on that matter, yet. I chimed in to give a piece of my wisdom now that the storm had been dodged.

I think we could all head out together and explore two whole stations.

Two whole stations... as opposed to only half of two stations.

Who says they'll come back here, anyway?

Something was a little strange with H's proposal. For some reason... it didn't seem completely genuine. Was she planning on absconding the moment she could? Maybe it would've been better to keep an eye on her instead...

Whatever the case is, the train can take a while to arrive, so let's head down.

Nobody had any objection. Once again, we formed a line to head down and leave this station behind us. Maybe we'd be leaving it for good this time around. One by one, we emerged onto the station.

The train wasn't here yet, how typical. Before we left for another station, I decided to talk with some of the others quickly.

Because we're about to be exploring a station with Jasmine, I chose the twins for this conversation.

Hey, uh, I hope the whole “thought experiment” thing wasn't too weird.

No, I still don't understand what you're talking about.

Me neither. If it lets me go with H, it doesn't really matter, does it?

I guess not. What are your plans for when you'll finish exploring the next station?

Our plans... like what?

Like, say, if you find the ninth person...

Yeah... It's already ludicrous to think there will even be a ninth person. If you ask me, that might be a lot of hot air.

We still can't trust Smiley.

I could tell the two of them were averting their eyes or looking slightly awkward overall. Something didn't feel right. Were they planning on leaving us all behind...? Were they withholding information on the suspicion that one of us was Smiley? Now, that was a rather terrifying thought. I decided to play it off, and leave it aside.

Okay, that makes sense.

I didn't want to confront them about it. Maybe if I didn't push the issue, they would think of us more favorably.

The train's coming! You should go fetch J if she didn't see it.

It was kind of hard to not see the train... I made my way to Jasmine anyway, understanding she wanted to shoo me away and, again, I wanted to up the odds in our favor. Finally, the train settled in at the station. We boarded it without hesitation.

Huh? A happy cat?

Yeah, they go “prr”.

BGM: Silence
The doors of the train closed without anyone laughing at the joke.

I think M's behavior has been rubbing off on you.

Yeah, that was weak.

Difficult crowd tonight...

Following that fiasco, I sat down, and the train went to the previous stations we already finished what felt like an eternity ago. There was silence the whole time.

BGM: Agoraphobic Sloth
That's where we're leaving.

Oh that's not fair! You two get to go to the pool and have a nice dip!

Don't be silly, I don't think we'll have a dip.

I looked at her. Oh, she totally wanted to have a dip in the pool. I rose up and joined her, regardless of what I felt on the matter. Or perhaps...


What was I thinking? What were the chances there would be swimsuits here? Probably null.

So uh, yeah! Once we're all done, let's check back in at the lounge real quick just to be safe, okay?

Yeah, yeah. Your wife already left.

Wife?! I was about to storm up some kind of retort when I realized Jasmine had already disappeared behind the open doorway, too.

Woah, hey, wait up!

I ran out of the train and entered the lobby once more. It looked just like the others. Much like them, it also closed behind us.

BGM: Alarming Silence
Something doesn't feel right. Wait here for a little bit before we go up, and you'll see...

Did Jasmine hear something? Was there someone else here? Question after question rammed through my brain, but I had no answer and she didn't explain herself until... Several long minutes after the train had left, another one came by. In this one, from afar, I could spy two people. They weren't the twins- they were Marco and Ray.

If we hadn't come here this quickly, they'd have arrived here before us...? So they were continuing on?

BGM: Agoraphobic Sloth

Jasmine called for me from afar. She was already up the stairs.

Didn't you ask me to wait down here?

I didn't think you really would take me seriously! Come on now, there's a pool up here, check it out!

I climbed up at the insistence of my companion. After a brief hallway, there was an uninteresting locker room split into two sides- one for women, and one for men- and finally, after going through the one for men, I entered the room containing the pool itself.

I didn't; I just walked like a normal person. Listen, I wanted to hurry up a bit, because there's something I have...

She pulled out a strange key. The handle looked like the number eight, and the key itself looked like one of those old-fashioned models.

What's that for? Where did you get this?

I don't know. E gave it to me earlier, and I have no idea where she could've found this, of all people too! According to what she theorized... It might be important to unlock something. A big secret, maybe. Think you saw anything that needs a secret key?

I thought about it, but nothing came to mind.

Yeah, works for me. Let's not waste any time.

She agreed and we split up to look around the room, which contained a few elements of great interest.

BGM: Ambient Strain
And a lot of it didn't seem to fit with what a pool should normally contain. Almost immediately, Jasmine held her nose.

Uhh... dis blace sbells weird. Don't you feel stradge?

A little, now that you mention it. What's the source of this, you think?

Um... I think it's the wader. Is it sob kind of acid?

Jasmine approached the pool. She shook her head, in clear visible pain.

It's making my throat itchy. Whatever these pools contain, it's not water. We can't swim here.

She dropped her shoulders forward in defeat.

There go my dreams of swimming around in a bikini.

BGM: Auxiliary Search

Not a ton to check out this time, but before we do anything we're checking the map.

I'm gonna start with the stuff at ground level, starting with that weird paddle thing.

Now we're getting kinky in here.

:froggonk: kill meeeeee

Huh? What?

Oh, I guess it's not that kind of paddle.

Next, the pools, starting with the one without the floatie.

I saw her holding her throat, visibly looking like she wanted to scratch at it. I had to do something before she fell under the curse of Oyashiro-sama.

Then there's no time to waste. This looks like a job for Pizzaman.

Are you Pizzaman?

Yeah, that's me. I'm Pizzaman. I'll just use my laser sight to break out of here... or I would, but the acid in the air is preventing me from doing so. Curse you, my arch-nemesis!

The mystical pizzanite, huh... They say pizzanite comes from the planet Pizzan, from where Pizzaman comes from. Is that true?

Yes. Until the pizzanite is gone, I can't use my pizza powers. I'll get you next time, Lex...

And now, the other side.

Why did I want to bring it over? It was because it had some sort of plastic-covered paper on the inside. I couldn't read what was written on it from this far away.

:v: Gee, I wonder what we could use to grab that! I'm gonna look at the stuff on the back wall first.

These letters make no sense.

Do they not? Surely they must have a purpose here, though. Otherwise, they wouldn't be graffiti on the wall. Besides, I never go out without my yvtug. Did you lose yours?

What the hell's a yvtug?

What? You don't know?

She put a hand over her mouth, looking shocked before smirking behind it, as if making fun of me. I didn't get this. What? What was she talking about? What the hell was an yvtug?!

Hold up! That's unfair, who ever heard of a yvtug before?!

Oh, no one except for the entirety of the human species other than you, apparently. When we'll be out of here, I'll have to bring you shopping. We really need to get you a yvtug too.

But what is it?! What's a yvtug?!

I knew she was messing with me. I just wanted to make her try to give me some kind of nonsensical description of what a “yvtug” was. Instead, she smiled at me like she was making fun of me even more. Well, this was all just a big waste of time anyway. Maybe it was better if she kept the secrets of the yvtug to herself.

Next, that chair in the center.

Is this an electrocution chair?

I looked around the four panels of glass. I approached it to press my hands onto it, but I couldn't touch it. It was like there was some kind of force field around it?

Yeah, let's try that! But with what?

Jasmine snagged the paddle nearby and swung it at the glass. However, the moment it came within around two decimeters off the surface, it stopped in mid-air.

Hey, don't play around. Go on, it's okay even if we'll have to deal with the glass shards.

No, I mean, I literally can't move anymore. This is the most I can do with it.

I yanked the paddle out of her hands to try it too. Same result- the panels of glass stopped me before I made contact with them.

How strangely convenient. I guess we can't break this the way we want to.

All that's left to look at are the weird stations parked on the sides of the chair. I'll start with the ones on our left.

If telephone booths look like this in Montreal now, no wonder everyone's switching to smartphones. I'd feel some kind of existential dread just by being near one of these!

No matter how you feel about them, what do you think they're for?

I don't know. I don't really want to interface with any of them.

She blankly stared at the machines for a while. Was she squinting, or was it my imagination?

I'll let you handle them if you want. I'll go have a look over... there!

She pointed at the exit and swiftly left my company.

Hey, you can't leave yet! The door's closed!

I put my hands in a cone around my mouth to yell my warning to her. That didn't stop her. Strange.

And now the other side. Jasmine just reappears for this part, she didn't actually leave.

Machines... machines... all sorts of machines. This can't be good this close to water.

Maybe they're containing ghost spirits. Ghosts in the machines.

Ghosts don't exist, J.

Seven machines, seven swimmers. And the last one sat in the chair instead for a total of eight ghosts... They're our ghosts from the future, after we decided to take a swim! All of us here!

She cast a glance over at the water. I shook my head, flinging the thought away.

No, we're not falling in the pools to become ghosts.

But Simon, I'll wear a bikini if we do.

Yeah, and so will A wearing swimming trunks!

Or a speedo.

Goddammit, J!

:cripes: I cut out another dialogue section here for reasons you can probably guess already. Nothing of value was lost, please throw this Simon into the acid pool, thanks.

Anyway, let's use the paddle to get the floatie already.

I found the object that allowed me to bring the lifesaver over. Since the water was acidic, I couldn't reach it with my bare hands. Carefully, I pulled the lifesaver to the edge of the pool using the paddle.

How did the lifesaver not disintegrate in that acid? You can see the bottom of the metal ladders has completely melted away!

Maybe it's made of something that the acid doesn't corrode? Either way, let me see the message...

I had to kneel down next to the pool to see it, bringing me ever closer to the surface of the acid. If I fell in there, I wouldn't come out again. Maybe... just one step over... everything would end.... I shook my head out of those suicidal thoughts. What the hell? I needed to see the message, right.

It says a lot of gibberish. In fact, those are barely words at all! They contain numbers and random stuff. I don't think this is meant to be anything.

Maybe it's just hiding the real message. Look for anything special.

Oh, I know that! It's a substitution cipher. A really easy one, too. You just substitute every letter for the one 13 slots backwards. For example, “N” would be “A”, then.

What the hell could this help us accomplish? Surely there must have been a reason to explain why this was in the room.

Gee, I wonder. :v:

N equals A... so Y equals... L...

What are you doing?

I'm translating “yvtug” over to the real word it's supposed to be. L.. I... G... H... T... Oh! It's “light”.

Gimme a moment, I'll do it way faster.

“Light through a prism”, got it!

Wow, that was fast. How did you do that?

I'm psychic. No, but for real, I just thought it was weird that we had color-coded machines on the wall, so I sort of went with the most obvious.

It didn't seem that obvious to me. Still, what did this mean? I had to make sense of it. And why was there an arrow pointing at the green machine? Was this where we had to start?

Wow, so many options! :v: If it wasn't obvious, the solution is to turn all of them on, to make the color white, but you have to do it in the order of the rainbow because there's a designated starting point.

I flicked the switch on the green machine. A small hum came from it, signaling it was activated.

Green is first... so are we meant to do a full rainbow or something?

I don't know. What's next after green in the rainbow?

Um... you can go both ways, so it's not really clear. Let's try one of them.

You can also look at the chair again during this process.

How many of them do we have to activate? What will this accomplish?

Maybe they'll open the glass in the middle. But if you look at a picture of a rainbow, the green color is always in the middle. I wonder what that means.

Do we have to go to the left of green or to the right, then?

Strangely, Jasmine was leaving it up to me despite the fact she was a full-fledged graphical artist. She should've known her way around this kind of stuff. Oh, I got it! She was just afraid of the machines! Now I wondered what else she was afraid of... Maybe ghosts? Could I use this to get back at her someday?

Anyway, the text doesn't really change as you flick the rest on, so there's no point in repeating it here. After all the machines have turned on...

Once the final machine's switch was flicked, I tried doing it to more of them, but none of them changed.

They're stuck.

Look, something's happening though!

There's a note on the back of this chair. It says... 'the code will be directly transferred to your head.' What does this mean?

It means that that's dangerous. Don't touch it. We have to figure out a different way to get the code.

Hmm... do you think that exists?

Of course. Smiley doesn't really expect us to sit here and electrocute ourselves, does he?

Jasmine walked back around the chair to join me outside of the compartment. This decidedly was too dangerous. I watched her move further away.

I don't know.

Hey, what if we need that one too?

Don't you get it? This acid is spreading in the ambient air. If we stay here too long, we'll die. We don't have the luxury of looking around any longer than how long we took so far. It's do or die at this point.

But I'm not going to sit into that chair. I'd rather dissolve. At least it'll give us a fighting chance.

BGM: Abyssal Snarl
It's okay. I'll sit.

What? I refuse to agree to that.

You don't have to agree. I didn't expect you to. You're a really good guy, so obviously you'd jump to my rescue if this happened. But you don't know what it's like right now for me.

She reached up to her head, clutching it. As she spoke, her eyes were widening as if she was in great pain.

I've been trying to do other things to keep my mind off it. I thought if I was a bit sillier sometimes, I could take my mind off it. Anything just to not focus on it. It's not enough, though. You don't have any idea what it feels like in my head. Right now, it's like there's a bulldozer running over my brain.

I can't stand it! Do you understand, S? I can't stand it!!

She was growing hysterical, but I couldn't move. She was screaming, and I was frozen in contemplation and shock.

And you know what? I have conflicting memories too! It's not enough that it's painful, I'm confused as hell! I remember you, I remember Marco, I remember my studies. Those are fine.

I'm not a teen; I'm twenty-four years old! I feel off about so many things, too. Sometimes I feel like I'm being watched. Someone's spying on me with these computers. These security screens. What if Smiley watched me? Smiley's watching me with his helmet or something!

Who were they?! All my memories... they're all broken! Who are they? Who am I? Am I Jasmine? What if I'm not Jasmine? What if I'm just... I don't know... someone else... what if I'm just... not me? Where is me? Who is me?

I grabbed her arm to stop her at this moment. I looked at her straight in the eyes. I saw them slowly turn in their sockets, until they fixated on me, still crazed.

I don't care who you are. Right now, you're Jasmine.

There was no point to the nicknames at this point. We both omitted them.

I don't know. Listen, people exist because their memories make them who they are. Memories and experiences. The sum of all that is what makes them “them”. I've seen people who have memory issues. They don't feel like themselves when they speak to you anymore. Ever had someone you know not remember your face?

He kept saying how, when I accompanied my parents, I had come to see him alone earlier. But that was impossible since I was accompanying my parents. He couldn't say what we spoke about. It was very terrible for him. He passed away, possibly while not even remembering his own children.

It's a part of them that left them. I'm the same. That's why.

BGM: Alarming Silence

I have to sit in that chair. I went through it. Something like it. I'm sure. I already had my head messed with. I don't have a memory disease! Someone did this to me! This chair was put here for me.

Ultimately, there was nothing else I could do about it. When Jasmine made up her mind, she was serious. I could feel that energy coming from her. She sat into the chair. The clasps around the chest part closed onto her ribs. When she put her hands down onto the armrests, the chair further bound her there.

Her ankles were also tightly held by automatic clasps. At that point, she couldn't move away from it. In fact, she could do nothing but turn her head. Jasmine looked at me. She was still struggling with her fear of what was to come. I could tell the glitter of that feeling deep in her pupils.

Push the helmet part down.

I hesitated, but under the insistence of her glare, I obeyed. Slowly, I adjusted the helmet down to her head and waited. Nothing happened.

Is there a switch?

Yes. You want me to turn it on? It's like asking me to participate in...

I can't do it, so you have to do it in my stead. And if you're apprehensive because you think you'll be the cause of anything bad happening to me...

She smiled.

It's... do or die. And if it just so happens that the grim reaper pays me a visit today, let's both tell him something he doesn't want to hear...

Like what?

“Not today.”

I hesitated again. And then, I pressed down on the switch.

BGM: Alarming Situation
After having secured herself into the seat, Jasmine suddenly let out a half-hearted scream.


I watched while I grew increasingly worried as the seconds passed.


Are you okay, Jasmine?!

After about a minute, my shuddering body acted on its own. I leaped over. Grabbing the machine, I pulled onto it to try to take it apart. I was still being careful to not damage it in a way that would hurt Jasmine, though.

What are you doing to Jasmine?! Don't you fuckin-

I was interrupted when Jasmine's hand shot out to grab onto mine. She held it tightly, preventing me from messing with the machine any more than I already had.

I'm... okay...! Just sit tight... please!

I let go of the machine, powerless against Jasmine's word. The altercation had only taken a few seconds, but soon, she was released from the seat.

She tried lifting herself up from the seat, but only managed to trip forward, not too far from the edge of the pool. I immediately launched myself to her side. I helped her up to her knees as she grunted some inaudible words. That had been quite close to turning into a tragedy.

Are you alright? Did it hurt?

Like I said, it wasn't... my first time...

She tried rising higher, only to slip and fall back down. I held her to stop her from rolling into the pool with my arms, and I was thankfully successful.

Ugh... but it was very tiring.

She held her head with a hand. I helped her get back further away from the edge of the acid-tainted waters, that way if she fell again, it wouldn't be in the pool itself.

Do you need some kind of rest?

No, no, I can go. I just need to focus a little.

Finally, she managed to rise up to her feet, though she kept a hand onto the wall for support. I didn't know what that thing did to her. I didn't want to know, but I had to make sure she was fine. I wouldn't be able to handle losing her to this.

Yes, I know. Before we go, I have something really important to tell you...

I could tell she was struggling with her words. What did Jasmine want to tell me, exactly? It wasn't something meager. No, she had the expression of someone who'd seen a ghost. I didn't believe in ghosts, so I was hoping she wouldn't tell me about one.

It's about...

I waited patiently, unwilling to urge her in this state.

BGM: Agoraphobic Sloth
It's about the code to leave this place, of course!

All of a sudden, she smiled as if all of this had been one big farce. Whatever she wanted to tell me was gone from her immediate thoughts. Was she concealing information, or was she just making fun of me? I chose to believe the latter instead of the former. Yet, I still thought it must've had something to do with the machine. I cursed my inability in questioning her.

Oh, you got me.

I mean, the machine did transfer the code into my head, just like it said. I have the memories of that now, so we can leave this place.

She walked over to the door, slightly tripping over herself in the process. I tried helping her, but she held a hand up to stop me.

I'll be fine. We need to go before the acid dissolves us any further. Your skin's itchy, right?

Not really...

She ignored my words and continued to stumble her way out. It was so clear that she was concealing something. I didn't know what to make of it.

BGM: Ambient Strain

It was somewhat heartbreaking if she chose to keep me out of the loop. Maybe she had a good reason, but what that was, I couldn't know for sure. If she wasn't telling me, she had a good reason not to, surely.

We have to talk later though, ookay?

About what?

We were in the lobby when I brought it up.

About this whole... thing here. That we just did. That you did.

I didn't do anything, what are you talking about?

Sorry, I mean...

I didn't know which side of the station we'd even gone down. I was only following her. While she might've been concealing information from me, I didn't want to let her go alone. Heh... Typical of me. I never wanted to let her go.

As we waited for the train, I wanted to break the silence, but I didn't know what to bring up. Maybe something familiar? Or just small talk...?

You know, ever since we woke up here, we haven't really talked about anything other than this place, huh?

She nodded slightly, but gave no verbal acknowledgment. It was like she wasn't there.

So I thought, maybe, er... it would be nice... if we did?

Once again, Jasmine nodded at me in a dismissive fashion. I furrowed my brow as I grew annoyed with her lack of enthusiasm. What was happening in her head?

For instance... what about... your drawings? How are they lately?


And once again, I was given a nod in reply. It wasn't even a reply that was proper to my current question, even considering the verbal acknowledgment accompanying it!

BGM: Alarming Silence

Jasmine, I'm talking to you. Are you a zombie?

She finally woke up from whatever daydream she'd been having. Perhaps it hadn't been a daydream, but a day nightmare.

Oh, uh, what? Oh, right, right! What was it again?

Your drawings. They're still doing great, yes?

Yes, of course. My drawings are doing... fine. I'm just thinking a lot... sorry if it looks like I'm ignoring you.

I highly doubted I was going to get a sensible conversation out of her for the time being, but I tried something else anyway.

My favorite color? You already know that...

Just answer it. It's banter.

Okay, okay, um... I don't know, maybe green? No, wait. Blue?

Her words gave me pause. I knew she liked the color blue. She always used it in every picture she made somehow, no matter which shade it was. I knew this because my favorite color was green. I also knew it wasn't her favorite color at all.

So indecisive! For a moment, I thought you'd answered mine because you wanted to have things in common, but then you changed your mind.

I thought it might make her blush a little, but there was no reaction of that sort.

I could tell she still wasn't all there. All the non-committal answers were pushing me towards one conclusion: whatever happened with the chair had been much more important than I thought. The atmosphere grew tense. The train was still not there. I needed to solve this issue before we went inside, because I wanted to save my friend. Whatever demon inhabited her head had to be purged somehow.

All I could do was speak to her, but about which topic? Two came to mind: directly confronting her about the chair, or obliquely bringing it up by talking about the key. Did she know something I didn't? Did I have courage to mention the chair directly? Was it just a better idea to talk about the key for other reasons?

BGM: Ambient Strain

What about the key you found? Do you know what it's for?

She'd been toying with it for a while already, which only helped bringing it to mind too. I thought perhaps it might've occupied her mind the most.

Right, that key! Good thinking, S!

Huh? But I didn't do anything...

No, I remember now. We won't need to take the train. Gosh, I'm so stupid! We can use the key over here, come with me.

What about returning to the leisure station...?

Is it for the gate?

I think it is. E found it in the infirmary and gave it to me earlier. Let's see if I can unlock it...

She grabbed the gate and pushed the key into the keyhole. I waited outside of the little hall for her to finish, content in being able to see something as it was too dark inside.

I think it's unlocking, S! Come on in!

BGM: Agoraphobic Sloth

The gate is kind of...stuck, though? Like it doesn't open. I'm gonna need your big, strong arms to pull on it and dislodge it...

Oh, hahah... hah... Yeah, I can do that!

I cursed my ineptitute at maintaining myself in the face of compliments like those. I grabbed the gate with both arms and yanked! It didn't budge. I tried again, and grunted audibly under the force I applied to it.

It's not moving even with my arms.

Try harder!

I will!

Argh! That thing doesn't want to move!

I felt my way to the lock, using my hands to feel it up. Was it even unlocked? Maybe Jasmine didn't realize that the gate was still closed.

I think the gate's still locked, Jas...

Yeah, I know.

Keep calm, Simon. It's just your friend pressed up against you. It's just your friend who maybe might want to be more than friends. I repeated those words in my head, trying to stop my heart from beating so fast. I felt her breath against my skin. Oh, she was close. It didn't help matters.

BGM: Anaphora Solution
Wait. Something felt kind of wrong with this, didn't it? Yet, I couldn't stop my head from growing more erratic as a result of the physical presence I felt against me. She was so close. Her face was right in front of mine. I could barely tell thanks to the light from the other side, but it was there. There was a halo around her head due to the lighting from the outside. She was illuminated like an angel. Was she here to liberate me from hell?

Forget about it, Simon! She's going to kiss you, you idiot! I cursed at myself to try and regain some sort of mental foothold. I could feel it coming, but... was she really okay with it?

Jas, this is all very sudden, but...

But? Shh, some things are better left unsaid.

She leaned forward a little more, and I braced myself.

BGM: Silence
And then pain rose from my chest. What...?

BGM: Abyssal Snarl

What...? Are you saying...?

I'm saying you should forget about me.

My hands reached for my chest. Something warm was rolling over my fingers. I brought them up to my nose, trying to understand what it was. It was liquid, and smelled like metal. Blood? Did she... Yes. She stabbed me. I could feel the knife embedded in my body.

Gr... garrrhhh...

See? That kind of thing is better left unsaid. You don't need to know when you're going to die.

Who... who is it...? Who do you have to... take with you...?

I used my last breath to ask her. I wanted to know.

As the gate opened, and she stepped over my fading body, she replied, and her words broke my heart more than the knife plunged into it.

Not you.