Amelia sat up in bed. She had woken up from power-saving mode, her memories too intense to keep her restful self up.
Damn it. This rarely happened, but when it did she felt weak. Vulnerable. The night before such an important mission, and she was feeling like this? Why? She had gone into power-saving mode with such confidence that to be thrown into more emotional, heart-rending memories made her feel uneasy. The process was random, though. Defragmenting blips of her life to help reroute her soul and her modules.
She knew the dungeon diving tomorrow would result in nothing but power and progress towards finding Ed. Her mind simply liked to play tricks on her, and she would ignore it as best as she could.
However, Amelia could not sleep again.
Her soul, aching for answers to soothe itself, refused to allow her to bring back the memories so soon. But she had no answers to give it.
Instead, she realized she had something else for her soul.
She rummaged through her rucksack. Pulled out a shining purple gem about the size of her left pinky finger. Let its cool glow light up the bedroom as she touched it.
Soul gems were brightly luminescent when touched, when soul energy rubbed against the surface of the quorium. It was a telltale sign in the mines of when someone had finally struck a new vein, because their fingers would light up the whole area. Left to their own devices, however, they were dull, unshapely gray rocks unremarkable in any way. Amelia liked that. Such an important part of life in Sunwell, able to hide itself in plain sight, but never shy to spring into action when the need came.
This soul gem, of course, she had been saving for a special occasion. Tonight was not one of those occasions, but seeing as she was unable to return to power-saving mode, it would have to do.
Inside the quorium was a myxo soul. Myxos, the translucent, shape-shifting glossals that appeared in Sunwell so rarely that to see one was considered a good luck charm—or a bad omen.
Amelia did not believe in such superstitions. With no luck involved, she would find out this strange being’s past in whatever way she could. She pulled up her undershirt and touched the gem to the dragonglass hatch that protected her core.
Amelia, welcome back.
Soul detected. Would you like to incorporate or convert?
“Incorporate,” she whispered so as not to wake Aeo at the other side of the room.
Are you sure?
The detected soul has a strange energy signature.
No incorporation data on this race found.
“Yeah, I’m fine. It’s worth it.”
There was no data because she had never absorbed a myxo before. And now she was going to do it, both for power and for the sheer curiosity of it.
Sure thing, then. :)
Soul incorporation process beginning. Memory containment underway.
Please do not turn on any new modules or enter power-saving mode until the process is complete.
You can access new memories in the MYXO-001 sub-section.
Her mind suddenly shifted.
All of this myxo’s experiences and memories came flooding into her at once, and she let herself be taken by it at least in part.
Visions of far-off lands swept through.
Oceans vast and filled with gargantuan island-sized creatures that swam peacefully beside a convoy of ships. Peacefully, until one ship approached too closely—and found itself snapped up in the massive mouth of a monster.
Heavy rain in a forest, guarded and dry thanks only to the thick canopy above. Crickets chirping.
A battlefield, one side human and the other side some heavily furred race Amelia had never encountered. Just a flash—
And then she saw this myxo’s life from the beginning.
It all started deep in some unknown, lost-to-glossalkind cavern. Through narrow crevices and thick walls, there was an opening that led to a pit. And inside that pit was a myxo primordial pool.
Amelia knew this well already—despite their rarity in Sunwell, myxos were still a well-known part of folklore across the Saxonia Dominion. The race had special tenets that made them completely unique, and were thus feared and idolized by even those who had never met one.
All myxos came from the primordial pools. Giant sitting lakes of mana-infused slime that absorbed mana and radiated it upwards to the soil above. Their defenses were low, and their movement was lower—a large issue when the energy gained from a sizable primordial pool could power Fleetwixt for a year. Thus they lived in hidden outcrops and buried caves.
But these pools would never have been considered glossal if not for the phenomenon of emergence. In Amelia’s newfound memories, she saw herself—the myxo she absorbed—forming into an individual, bubbling up from the primordial pool and climbing onto the rocky surface as a small blob of slime. It had no identity, no speech, no purpose given to itself. And yet still it felt drawn to slither across the cavern floor, to squeeze through openings and ascend until it found the warm sun beaming down on it.
In its infancy, it did not understand anything about itself or the world. Instead, it was merely guided by the echoes of its ancestors, ones whose own experiences flashed through Amelia’s core in fleeting moments.
For in absorbing this myxo, she did not merely gain its own experiences. She gained a glimpse into the primordial pool and every single myxo to ever return to its home. The myxo mind did not work like a golem’s—she was unable to fully process the images and sounds and feelings of these ancestors, leaving them more like snapshots. Even so, the snapshots she found gave off truly ancient emotions.
Two elder dragons soaring high and proud in the sky, with a terrified city panicking below.
Massive gears turning to move a mighty tank through a desert, and a myxo heading directly for it.
A shared kiss with a beautiful boy, stolen in the middle of class. Why was a myxo at school?
Serving, spear in hand, by the side of a large, spike-tailed lord laying on a throne with a dissatisfied glare.
Who knew when or where these memories came from? They were handed out like a lottery from the moment of emergence. Completely random, or determined by the fate of the Gods.
All of these brief, oh-so-brief glimpses. The infant myxo, crawling through the woods and evading death from the local predators, understood them even less than Amelia. It survived through pure instinct and grit alone, despite its colorful blue body showing it off to anyone with eyes enough to find it.
It lasted like this for days on end. A week. Maybe two. It fed on the roots of plants, on the decay of fallen animals, on the atmosphere, rich with mana that radiated out from the trees around it. And it grew from a blob into a bigger blob. It gained the size to defend itself. It gained the ability to shift into other shapes and imitate the objects and animals around it.
For a while, it lived as a wolf. Wolves looked funny, it thought, so it decided to join a pack and see if they would accept it. And they did, for a time, despite the difference in smell and lack of bite. But eventually they grew annoyed and pushed it away.
And, like so many myxos, it eventually found itself in glossal territory. So many more things to transform into. So many upright-walking beings with cultures and customs to learn from. Its ancestral memories began to speak to it more loudly, more coherently—this was a life worth living. Not simply for survival, but for passions and hobbies and knowledge, all of which could be brought back to the primordial pool.
It found a port town, just like a memory told it about. Ships, boats. Overseas lands with people and creatures the pool had never seen. Perhaps other myxos from other pools. It could find another pool, return to it, and bring greater glory to the whole.
So it snuck aboard a ship one day before its two-month voyage across the Saxonia Dominion. A trading vessel that would visit the empire’s outlying islands and surely give this myxo a larger glimpse of the entire world.
Was not an it. A he. A man in the shape of a human, he decided. And he would name himself Tyri, after a farmer boy he met and befriended before he snuck aboard the ship. He gained a deep voice and a wide smile.
All myxos eventually came to this point. An identity beyond a formless, shapeless blob. A period of adolescence where each being took to a more permanent self. Shapeshifting was still possible, but in the end, Tyri, like all other myxos, eventually snapped back into his chosen human-esque form.
He was now mature, enjoying his secret life stowed away aboard this vessel.
But that also started the clock that ticked down to the end of his life.
For the myxo race was the least lived of all the glossals; one year from the time of maturation. Their body, at the end of this period, would break down and collapse into ooze; if they did not return to a primordial pool—theirs or any other they found—their experiences, their memories, their existence would be lost to the etherflow.
Amelia knew, already, that Tyri was indeed lost. But by being absorbed by her, he still lived on in some very small way.
He likely could have made it back to his primordial pool, had the two-month voyage gone as planned. But the convoy ran into those island-sized sea creatures. Then into pirates calling themselves krakens. Then into horrible weather and rough seas. Two months had turned to four, and the journey did not terminate back in its original port. By the time the convoy made it to Fleettwixt, half the ships were gone, and Tyri’s ship had been too damaged to disembark.
He was stranded in Fleettwixt, this marvelous city unlike anything he or his ancestral memories had ever seen before. A mana train buzzed across the tracks over his head and his mind spiraled with excitement.
That same excitement that Amelia knew would bring him to his doom.
Because he got wrapped up in Fourland. The only company willing to take an outcast with no ID, no education, no skills, and transform him into a thug that guarded a warehouse.
But he knew little about fighting, either. Amelia took him down in seconds, and there he laid on the floor, his body unable to keep itself together from the sheer damage of it all.
Amelia, through Tyri’s eyes, saw herself.
The desperation, the realization. He was not returning to his primordial pool. He was not going to bring back the wisdom of Fleettwixt to his people. He had been led astray, and had paid the price. The greatest shame of his entire race.
“From the pools I came, and to the pools I return,” Tryi muttered, his voice ripping apart like the rest of his body.
“Listen. I just want to ask about Fourland,” Amelia said. She looked strange through the eyes of a being whose eyes were quickly losing all function. “Tell me something, and I promise I’ll deliver you back to the pools.”
But then Tyri breathed his last breath, and the memories stopped.
One year to live, and one year to make it back to contribute to the greater good of the myxo race. Had he returned, the whole pool would have been graced with the knowledge that Fleettwixt was a wonderful hub of commerce and culture. Other myxos would emerge in the future, and Tryi’s life might have appeared in their ancestral memories. Might have led them to travel to Fleettwixt themselves.
With enough myxos together and each of them powerful enough, they could have found a deep cave in Sunwell and sacrificed themselves together to create a new primordial pool. The continent’s very first.
But that did not happen, and now Tyri was part of Amelia.
She felt sad for it, but not guilty. It lived a life cut short by its race, cut short by back luck, cut short by manipulation. But it was this life that would help Amelia better understand the world outside Sunwell. She saw those many cities and towns he had visited. They were not shining beacons like Fleettwixt, and yet they did not have the same oppressed, run-down status of almost every part of the continent outside the capital. Just normal cities with normal lives.
A goal to reach once her revenge was complete. A new standard to reach to improve the lives of everyone.
Amelia sighed contentedly and laid back down on the bed. Her mind had eased, and her soul ceased to yearn. Now she found herself able to reenter power-saving mode one last time before the dungeon dive would begin.
For Tyri’s sake, she would do her best.