“Use your rifle! It’s been modified to- JUST USE IT!”

Shaking, I pull my rifle into my hands and aim at Mesa’s chest. “Mesa, are you sure about this?”


So I pull the trigger.


The gun, instead of shooting a bullet, shoots a ray of light directly into Mesa’s chest. She starts shaking. Her eyes are glowing a bright white. She floats into the air, terrified expression turning to one of sad relief, convulsing, as tears trickle down her pale face. She reaches a hand out towards me, and speaks, in an echoey, distant, strained voice.


Suddenly, she slumps to the ground. Her eyes stop glowing, and she seems out of breath. Her shirt, a college tee stolen from the school store, is stained with blood. But the thing that almost seems hard to understand, the thing that would shock me, if I wasn’t desensitized to stuff of that sort already, is that her blood is mixed in with a thick black substance. This must be, like, Shadow World people’s blood or something, I think.

Then I remember something she told me. About being in a cult.

One that worshiped Dark Low.


"Oh shit. Oh shit. Mesa!" My voice had never been so shrill, so loud, so agonized as it was in that moment.

I hear footsteps, though barely, and the door flies open. John, Kal, and Phoenix run it and crouch around me. “What did you do!” John screams at me.

“I shot her, with my rifle. She told me to, something was killing her. I don’t know!” I reply, tears suddenly pouring down my face.

“Her blood, it looks like mine. Why?” Kal mutters, sounding almost in awe.

“She… she was in a cult when she was a kid. They worshiped Low. Is there anything you can do to save her?” I say, my voice sounding so wrecked.

“The only thing that can save her is a Light Crystal. But, we only have one…” Phoenix answers.

“Can you, like break piece off to use? Please, Phoenix!”


“Well. We could, but… there’s one more thing we can do. Without doing that.” Phoenix says. “It’s a bad idea, but it’s what we got.”

“What is it?” I asked. “Please, tell me! Mesa can’t just die-”

“You go into the Luminescent Republic. Find their adjustment building. You know, the one that all the humans that were pretty much kidnapped go to in order to, like, change into Luminescents? There’s probably tons of crystals there.” Phoenix mutters, strangely composed.

“But we can’t get there in time!” Kal screams.

“Yes. Yes, we can.” Phoenix pulls out a strange device. It looks like a small book, but it’s made of metal, and has this symbol - the diamond with sword thing - engraved onto it.

“You’ve got a pocket teleporter?!” Kal asks.


“Look, the people who got me out of nearly being sentenced to immortal imprisonment had stolen a ton of shit. Take this, get to the adjustment building, steal a crystal, teleport back, and then we can use it on Mesa.” Phoenix explains, talking very fast.


“Okay. But what if Light Tang or Kass find us-” I say.

"Just go, you two. It you find them just run. We can’t afford any more losses. Keep a low profile - not a Low profile, that would get Light Tang to shoot you - " Phoenix says quickly, laughing a little at her own joke, “and for the love of god, whatever you do, don’t be noticed. DON’T.” Phoenix reverts to her normal concern. She hands us the pocket teleporter.

“We go now?” I ask.

“Yes. God speed, comrades. I hope to see you back.” Phoenix waves at us as Kal opens the wallet-looking teleporter.


“Adjustment Building, Luminescent Republic.” she says, loud and clear.

Then we disappear.


The teleporter shakes in Kal’s hand, then stops shaking as we find ourselves in the lobby of what looks like a hospital. Propoganda covers the walls, as it covered the wall of the barge that took me to the Luminescent Republic the first time, but this time, it’s been painted over. Light Tang’s eyes have been covered with a straight black line, with LIAR painted on the line. Kal grabs my arm, attempting to remember the adjustment area. She used to work as Director of Education, right? So she’d know this place, but not well.

“That way.” Kal points at a stairwell.


We dash up it, and find ourselves in a hallway filled with locked rooms. “Transitioning area, no no. Maybe… maybe floor 3?” Kal mutters.


“Okay,” I say, as Kal leads me up another set of stairs into another hallway. She turns left, seemingly certain of herself, stopping at a door labeled “STORAGE”. A screen glows below the label.

“So all you need is a key, right?” I ask. “Or a hand?”

“I’m Director of Education. Kiran was one of my old friends. He gave me a glyph-key that could unlock pretty much any room in this place. Now I just have to draw it.” Kal smirks, sketching a strange symbol that looks like a brain inside of a sun.

The door opened, and the world grew cold.


I’m not sure what it was. Maybe the crystals, or maybe the death look the guy standing inside the room was giving us.


He was obviously one of Dark Low - well, one of Kassandra’s. His hair covers one of his eyes, and he’s wearing a floor-length black cloak. He stares at us, looking so done.

“Fuckin’ Luminescents.” He grabs a dagger out from his belt, pointing it at us.


“Hey, I’m barely a Luminescent anymore!” I say, holding my hands up in surrender.

“Yeah, and what about your friend here?” he jerks his chin at Kal.

“Oh, you don’t want to know.” she mocks, and holds up her corrupted arm.

“Oh shi-” a bolt of purple energy shoots out of Kal’s palm, and knocks the guy onto the floor.

“Huh. Not bad.” Kal mutters.


I grab all the crystals I can, loading them into the backpack I’m wearing. They glow, stinging my skin. Too easy. After getting about ten, I zip up my backpack and tap Kal on the shoulder.

Kal, on the other hand, is doubled over in pain. Her arm seems to be reacting to the crystals, burning. Tears fall down her cheeks.

“Are you okay?” I ask her.

“Does it look like I’m okay??!?!?” she screams.


I crouched down beside her. Her arm was covered in glowing light patterns, shimmering in different shades and tones.

“It’s too bright,” she says. “It’s a kind of power…”


“How do I stop it?!” I ask.

“I don’t know. Just… get us out of here. Teleport out. With me. Right. Now.” Kal’s voice is colder.


I teleport us back to Phoenix’s office. Mesa’s lying across the desk, it’s contents in a pile on the floor.


“Mesa, are you okay?!!” I scream. She doesn’t respond.

“She’s breathing.” Kal says. “Barely.”


I grab one of the crystals from my jacket and hold it over the wound on Mesa’s chest. “How does it work?” I ask frantically.

Kal grabs it away from me with her good hand. “Step back.” she mutters, and I obey.

The stone begins to glow, blinding white.


“The crystal is placed on top of any Shadow. It will hopefully burn it off. Of course, there are other ways of doing it, but that’s the fastest.” Kal says in a matter-of-fact-tone. “Which means, of course, that my arm’s probably gotta go.” Kal shoves the crystal into the palm of her other hand.