Chapter 211: Good Luck
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“Basically,” said Ta’Gelkiyr, “you can die like humans on Earth again!”

“Shut up,” said Nyx not a half-second later. “Just...just shut up.”

Ta’ hovered and smiled.

“I spent the last few years of my life fighting and changing and—changing on a molecular level—and now it’s you’re saying I can wipe the slate clean. My slate was already wiped clean. I’m already dead there, I’ve already slapped it all aside. You think I want to go back?

Ethel wouldn’t let Nyx dampen her calm, quiet interest. “But you said we’ll be humans,” she said to Ta’Gelkiyr.

“Actually, I was cleverly misphrasing things. You can die as humans. Reversing the metamorphosis is—not possible.”

“Then what is the point,” said Nyx.

Ta’’s screen changed into an arrow. They swiveled so it pointed at Ethel.

“I did say she’d be the only one to like it,” they chirped.

“They did say that,” said Agi.

Nyx felt stony and grim as granite. Their fury had sort of fizzled out and now their insides were dry. Scanning Ethel, they saw only a hint of cautious concern in her. She wasn’t salivating yet, but she was about to.

“I think I’ll never be a hero,” she said. “Gaia’s never seemed like the place for me...”

“It wasn’t for any of us,” said Nyx.

And now they knew why: because they’d been plucked out of Earth not for an obscure prophecy, not by some romantic coincidence of time of death with a falling star, but because a god-ish being was throwing the dice.

To satisfy the ravenous curiosity of Ethel and the vague wonderings of Nyx and their two demonic servants, Ta’ explained further. How was it possible to return to Earth? Not by ship, bridge, or yet another death, but by glitching.

“That’s what Ragnorre is: an experiment in how to take people across the universe, from Earth to Gaia and back. No soul stuff or dying necessary,” said Ta’.

She was a jump between planets, between galaxies, between rulesets of magic and the lack thereof. And she had succeeded in that she had lived.

“You could leave right this moment,” said Ta’.

Ethel was totally silent, but her mind had never been louder.

Ta’ looked around. Agi’s head twitched, taking in information, staying on his guard. Dodd watched Nyx, concern in every fiber of her being. Nyx watched the ground about a meter from their feet.

Suddenly, Agi raised his chin and snapped his fingers. “Well, Felicity remains missing,” he said. “And as I understand it, this door that Grandmaster Ta’Gelkiyr set aside for us will lead us to safety—from which we can hop to Darkworld, Opal Court, wherever might bring us to that lost property?”

Nyx grinned despite themself. Here the demicrow was, ignoring Ta’’s whole thing, disrespecting a chthon to their face—and apparently confused that everyone else wasn’t. You’ve got guts, they thought.

Meanwhile, Dodd—with her temperament at the opposite pole—looked at Nyx with the slightest hint of a furrowed brow.

Nyx gathered themself up again. “Yeah...Ethel will need more time,” they said. (Ethel appeared to be frozen.) “And we will all leave together.”

“Open the door and you shall find what you seek,” chimed Ta’Gelkiyr, and their form began to fade.

As Nyx made for the door, the rest rose and followed. Agi fluttered into full crow form and landed on Nyx’s shoulder—a surprise, but not unwelcome. Dodd tottered after while Ethel rose almost casually.

One turn of the knob and the door opened, bringing a harsh gust of wind and jets of mist. The world on the other side was dark.

It was a street in the Darkworld District, the way to one more adventure for Lord Nyx to face weary-eyed, the path toward reclaiming their, it was a place on Gaia. Waning day over a kingdom that Nyx and Ethel both remembered. As decent a place to seek lodging as any.

The shadow shapes of Lillifal’s great castle loomed large on the horizon. Closer, huddled around them, were fir and pine trees rimmed with frost. That blinking light in the corner of Nyx’s eye was a candlelight seen from the window of a cabin. There were no people inside of the cabin, only vermin, and the candle had been set by Ta’Gelkiyr as an invitation. The party entered and the night grew deep.