(This is the theme that plays in the movie adaptation of this story, as it does a slow pan shot over the Renmin Acquirer’s deck, or whatever it is built with)
(Holy shit, yes. That’s amazing.)
“What do you mean everyone? It’s just the three of us!” Mesa shouted.
“No it’s not. I called everyone down here while I was talking to you guys. Don’t ask, it’s complicated.”
Mesa rolls her eyes, and mutters something about finding a light switch while everyone else files into the room
Suddenly the lights come on. It physically hurts me, like burns. But at the same time I can feel it giving me strength. I don’t know whether to scream or smile, so I do both.
“Shut up, Ed,” Mesa says, “Low’s gonna find us.”
“It’s Tang’s ship!” Kal shouts as she rummages through one of the crates in the room, which just became visible.
Mesa mutters something under her breath, something that I would never repeat. “Mesa! Woah!” Ernest says, both in a complimenting and reproachful tone.
At that moment, I heard a small voice from behind me.
“If you come back to the shadows… I could hide you.” she said. “Bring your friends, I’ll save them all.”
I, and everyone else it seemed, whirled toward the source of the voice. Dark Helena was standing there, her cloak torn and pushed onto her shoulders. her face was scarred and bloody, as were her arms and legs.
“Don’t do anything. Let me handle this.” Kal said, and stalked into the center of the room.
“What are you going to do?” says Dark Helena. “Tang’s men are going to board this ship. Your tricks won’t stop them. I’m your only chance, kid. All I ask in return for my service is that – you eat this grain of rice!”
Dark Helena held out a Japanese bowl with a single grain of rice at the bottom.
Kal glances around the room for a handful of moments before sighing. “I’ll do it. If you tell us what you’re going to do to save us.”
“It’s simple really. I’ll just make it look like your ship vanished. Now, be quick. Tang’s men will board in the next five minutes.”
Kal takes the bowl and is about to grab the rice when Phoenix stops her. “Kal, don’t. I got everyone into this mess because of my work on The Deep Freeze. I should do it.”
Before Kal can argue with Phoenix, Phoenix grabs the grain of rice and eats it. Darkness begins to cover the ship, and Phoenix’s eyes turn dark. Kal is clearly worried.
“What did you do to her?!” she shouts at Dark Helena.
“You shouldn’t be that worried you know. That rice had a spell on it. Whoever ate it would switch places with her.” she points at Phoenix, who no longer looks like herself.
A spiral of gasps fill the room. “Kassandra Oliver.”
She suddenly came towards Dark Helena and gripped her neck with all her might.
“Wait… I helped you escape!” Dark Helena gasps, flailing around slightly.
Kassandra Oliver, in a dark voice, responded: “y̸̺̍̈́́̄͗̀͠͝ǫ̸͓̓̋͒̌̒͠ṷ̴͔̩̭͇̳̙̥͑̓͐̂̋ ̶͉̏̏̈̄̍̇͝l̶̛̮̲̬̳̐̃̅̈́͆͗i̴̦͕̩̗̍̓̎͑͛͝͝͝ȩ̴̰̮͍̩̳̙͙͌̔͗̔͘͝d̷̡̙̻̹͇̺̂̌̔̍͊̓̚̚ͅ ̶͆̎̔̃͒̀̑͜ṭ̸̛̉͘͝ȯ̴̫͎͖͂͂ ̷̢̺̞̔m̶̪͉̜̜̲̟̝̞͂̈́̐̎͆ẻ̷̼̗͚̲̓͋͒̓̐.”
“No… No I didn’t, I swear I was trying to help-” Dark Helena tried to say.
“ẙ̴̥͖ȯ̸̢̪̠͠u̵̱̖̝͑ ̸͎̳̍̈ș̵̍ḁ̴͕͛ỉ̸̝̤d̴̹́ ̵̥̊̐y̵͕̤̱͆ȯ̷̡ȕ̴̧̟’̶̢͓͖̅̓́d̵̰̠̦́̓ ̸͈́̚g̶̹̣̊ē̸̱̰t̶̩̻͒͊ ̴̼̬̊͐m̶̯̖͊e̵̟̼͍̊͐ ̵͙͐̎o̵̳̖̻̾́ṳ̵̓̂t̷̬̓ ̴̩̺̫̎ą̵̏͝l̴̙̞̤̄̽͑ó̵̺̼͘n̶̫̺͒̌ë̸̢́ͅ.̸̺̀”
“̴͖́͐y̵̱̾̂̉o̷̩̬̔û̶̖ ̴̝͚̃͝s̷̬̉̈́a̶͌̓͂͜ḯ̴̟̐ḋ̷̞̟̝ ̵̠͗i̶͎̩͂ ̶̬̆͘w̷̻̪͛͝ò̷̘̭u̵͉̻͘l̵̨̗̗̓̊͝d̴̞̫̾͋̊͜n̴̞͙̋’̵͎̄̔t̷̨͓͒ ̶̨̞̎̔͗b̶͚͑ȩ̸͇̓͘ ̵̦̼̾a̶̧̾ ̶̨̛̪̰ŝ̵̩y̸̞̝̕m̵͕̾̔b̴̞̆̀̄o̵̗̭͐ḷ̷̨̬̒ ̷̦̬̥́̐̍t̵͎̆ǒ̵̜̼̀͆ ̸̭̠̃͝y̶̠̤̿͆̽ő̷͖͎̠̊ǔ̵͍r̶̝̈ ̴̨͔͛̎p̶͈̍ă̴̡t̴̺͚̞͒h̷̦͍̑ě̶̞͚t̴͎͔̑̓i̶̡̟͎͠c̴̨̺͗ ̴̩̈́͑ç̸̖̌̽̀ǻ̸͕̥̝u̵̧̧͕̐ś̵̙̐ê̷̡̙̯”
“̵̮̻͐̒y̷̝̤͛̓̐o̶̧̮̹̓ů̴̥̊ ̸̢̌̕s̶̡͓̄̕a̷̰͙͐͗ị̴̫͚̾͑d̵̨͓͂͛̾ ̸̪̾ͅì̵̜̅̕t̸͖͈̐͜ ̷̧̥̞̂ẅ̶̗͎̓o̶̢̰̜̅͊u̷̲̳͐̍͝l̴̗̼͙̀d̴̢̛̫̿̎ ̷̙̖̥̅̉b̸̡́̽̎e̷̟͓̚ ̴̪̎̕b̷̻̯͉̉ę̸̙̹̋f̶̢̡̨̊͋ŏ̴͙̫̹͗r̸̤͕̼̽͝ę̵̛̛̫̜͌.̶̹̍.̷͔̩̂͝.̶̺̖̰̌̊ ̷͈͈̈́̉͝į̵̹̌ţ̸̡̘́̂̈́ ̶̱̌̌̐a̴̞̕ľ̷̦͗̕l̸̟̩̹̅͂͝ ̷̭̗͍͆̌͋h̵̛͕̠̫̔̚ǎ̵̧͔́̐͜p̴̳̩̿͌͝p̸̖̌̈ë̴̻̠́̋͑n̷̟̖̍̏ë̵͚̬́̽͆d̶̡͛.̵̹̔͝”
(if you can’t tell what it says decode it here.)
Kassandra Oliver looked deep into Helena’s eyes. “Prove to me you remember! Sing my song.” She loosened her grip.
Dark Helena began singing a strange nursery rhyme-like tune.
"Oliver Kassandra, lost at the beginning
made for a mind for a war to be winning,
taken by Tang as a young young girl,
as a present from the Tien-kung, like a treasure or a pearl
precious DNA, while the stars and Moon smiled,
would chastise a lover and a mother and a child
But that didn’t stop Low, who still would sadly scream
A prayer from the Central King
Great Peace, or Tai-ping,
and good will
to the Crystal Alien Queen."
“That’s perfect,” said Oliver.
A smile crept onto Dark Helena’s face, just before Kassandra whirled a knife into her gut.
“Too perfect. You were meant to forget everything.”
Dark Helena crumpled to the ground, dead. Kassandra then turned to us.
“W̴̨̡̬͎̤͍̱̻̓̔͑̐̓̒̍͘̚h̷̛͉̘̺͉̰̭͛́̾͋̆̚͝ö̸̺͕͎͕̹̫͕̬̦̻͍̙͎͈̝̂̋ ̵̧̛͙̥̤͈̬̗̬͇̖̠̓ͅͅa̶̧̢̟̟͕̝̩̪̖͓̰̪̫͑͆̂̔̈̔̊͘̕͜͝͠ṙ̶̛̩͎̜̟̤̾́̍̾̍̄è̷̫̗̪͉̼̭̻̹̭͗͆͒̀̽̔̒̾͂͂͘̕͜ ̶̢̘͕͓̩̝̦̟̳̗̣̤͚͊̀͌͊̉͛̃̑͌̓̊͘͜y̷̨͔̼̫̭͈̺̲̻̹̝̘͆̊́̄̒̆͛ǫ̶̡̨̙̲̤̮̱̲̲̙͚̻͎́͋̋̎̍̕͜u̴̮̲͖̖̐͒?̶̪̭̜͎̪͉͔͓̱͑̋͂̈́́̇̐̏̌̇͊͠͝͝ͅ”
Tears glimmered on the edges of Kal’s eyes. “Kass… Kass you’re alive.” she said softly.
“I’m sorry. I don’t think I k̷̢̧͍̺̫̞͉̫̼͉̯̹̙͚̫̉͗̍̐́̐ǹ̷̤̲͍̺̺̠̈́̾̽́̄̉͑͊̊́͑͜͝͝o̸͈̠̣͖͈̠͓͒͋̾̿͌̏̉̐͗̊̐̔͒̕͠w̵̡͓̣̐̒ ̴̘̻̱͚͑̓y̷̩̲̙̻̟͂̍͗͛͂͘o̸͕̱̗͇̻̟̮̙̓́͆̅͆̈́͜͠u̷̳͖̙̐̾͑̉̾͋͝.̷̧͐͒̊̈́̋͜͝͝” Kassandra’s voice seems to be become clearer, until the words “know you”, in which it turns very, very dark.
“Don’t you remember?” Kal said, trying to appeal to Kass’s humanity.
“I̵̯̾ ̷̯̒̌̾͊͆͠d̶̩̝̽͑̋̈́͘o̷̢͚̻͔̝̲̊̽̀ͅņ̷̬͓̣̖̖̙̀̋̂’̸̜̗̗̪͖̯͎̆̒̏̇̉̇̌͆͜͝ͅt̷͖̰̼̀̈́ ̸̦͇͖̔r̸͇̬̼̹̂ę̴̜̞̭̤̤͓̺͈̇m̸͇̫̝͖͙̞̮̓͒̈́̀͌̈́͌̉e̶̟͉̩̮̠̓̓m̶̨͈̭̣̺͓̳̫͊̂ḅ̴̪̣̂̈́̊́͗̊̀̚͝͝ě̵̢̯̬̥̺̤̘r̵̝̲̎̾ ̴͓̱̰̗̝̦̝̥̟͋̂̎̐́͑̊̀͘y̶̨̻̖̥̳͕̽̀̕ơ̷̧̫̰̫͙̠̘̟̯̦̋̐̏u̵̹̍̎̐̅̈͆̕͝ ̵͉̙̣̞̱̒̄̂̌̃̀͘͜b̷̛̟͚̩̫̔͑̑̓͆͋͑ë̵̟̈́̾̒ḉ̷̧̲̞̺͚̥͔͙̍ͅa̴͚̪̤͕͛̑̄͘ú̷͎̂̂͑̚s̸̜͎̫͇̻͖͔̥̝̑̆̂́͌̅͝ḙ̷̰͎̼̠̪̀̓͊̊̌̕͝ͅ ̴̰̭̣̪̥̹̓̃̈́́̀̈́̐Ḯ̶̙̞͖͙̾͆́̐̑̚͝ ̵̧̨̯̲̼̰͈̙̞̅̄́̄̂ͅd̷̨̫̤̯̱͙̪̩̣͌́́̔̍̂͜ǫ̶̹̀̈́͊͂ņ̸̦̫̹̏͊̄̌’̶̧̢̪̬̻͍̦̩͓̮̐̃̋͘̚t̶̻̺̘̝̔̕͝ ̴͕̻̹͕̍͊ẃ̷͍̲̝̘͋̌̆̾̀̎͝ͅa̸̱͎͓͍̜̙̹̭̽n̴̢̩̞̲̝͈͕͇͊͠ţ̶̙̼͔̼͇̼͈̼͑̊ ̶̦̹̼̤̬̔̋̅̄̋̚͘t̷̡̼̦̭̞͎͍͐̀̈́́̾͊̽͊͝ͅŏ̸͖̦͔̜̗̍̋͝.̸̡̧̩̠͗̍͌̾͂̆͛̒̉͝ͅͅ” It was hard to understand, but I was pretty sure she said “I dont’ remember you because I don’t want to” or something like that.
“D-d-don’t want to?” I’ve never heard Kal so weak.
Kassandra looks over Kal with a quite interest, and I notice something with her eyes. The whites are slowly being taken over by black. Kal has begun to step forward, her arms held out wide. “No don’t!” I shout a second too late.
Kassandra latches onto Kal and they vanish.
Shift to Kal’s POV
I’m standing in a black void. There’s nothing around me, not even ground. Yet I’m not falling. Standing a few feet ahead of me is Kassandra, her back turned. I don’t understand what happened to her. She was my best friend. More than that, even.
“Helena Dark shouldn’t have said that,” said Kass. “You shouldn’t have had to hear that, but I had to make sure.”
“Kass… do you remember me?” asked Kal.
“Not consciously. Not when I’m awake,” said Kass.
“Where are we?”
“This is Low’s house. Hei Ta. This is the third deepest floor.”
“Why did you take me here?” asked Kal.
“I don’t want to meet Tang. Low is busy right now. But we have to leave before he comes home.”