The『D』Project Ch. 1
As I arrived inside the [FRAGMENT], I watched a butterfly flutter and disappear in my peripheral.
My journey as a [WANDERER] began with that butterfly. Every Wanderer seems to have a companion, but each companion is only visible to that Wanderer alone.
But like I mentioned, we can only catch glimpses of them in the corner of our eyes.
Sometimes, we wonder if we are all slowly losing our minds. Delusions and insanity are common symptoms of [BROKEN SOULS] after all.
We've debated endlessly about what these companions are, but we have yet to come to any conclusion.
But right now, I am standing in a peaceful, grassy field.
Thankfully, there is nothing strange or out of the ordinary. The world of fragments follow the same natural laws as the [PRESENT], but it doesn't mean that you won't find yourself in a strange situation or see strange things.
For example, I had to turn around to see why I was here. A dense fog settled far in the distance. That... is definitely not natural. And what I mean is that it's not a normal fog.
I felt my skin crawl just looking at it. I've been doing this long enough to recognize a [MANIFESTATION] when I see one. A manifestation is a phenomena that occurs when a soul exerts its [WILL] upon a fragment.
Fragments are more delicate than the [PRESENT]. One theory is that the lack of other souls makes it easier to twist and contort the world for your own purposes.
Granted, that is easier said than done. Not every soul is capable of doing this, and souls that can would take a tiny, itty-bitty piece of a world and warp it. Think of it like redecorating your own room, but not the whole house.
As I stepped closer and closer to the fog, I felt chills run up and down my back.
The fog stood up now like a wall before me. Here, it was eerie and too quiet. The previous sounds of the rustling of the wind and distant birds chirping was now absorbed into an empty, deafening silence.
Dee: "Hello? Anyone there?"
I yelled into the fog, but I only saw my words dissolve as it reached the fog. It literally sucked the voice carrying my words and erased it.
That is new and terrifying. I made sure to put as much friendliness into my words, but I supposed talking to this person was out of the question.
I tossed a rock inside the fog and saw it turn into an instant whisp of smoke, and disappear a second later.
Dee: " HOLY SHー?!"
It atomized the rock. It's not like I threw it hard or with any malicious intent either. This thing tore it apart from its core indiscriminately.
I didn't want to imagine what would have happened if I stepped in there without knowing.
Yes, outside the [PRESENT], life and death take on a different context. Dying here would just mean exiting this fragment. That may not seem like a big deal, but it doesn't mean I want to go out with a literal bang - dying still hurts - like...it really hurts.
I placed my palm as close to the surface of the fog as I dared. I felt dozens of needle-like pain shoot through my hand as the [WILL] of the fog grabbed me.
Blood trickled down as I looked at my skinless palm.
Thankfully, the wounds closed up quickly as I soon as I moved my hand away. The dull, throbbing pain eased and was soon gone.
Dee: "......it's strong....."
Like really, really strong. I survived against many things within and outside of fragments, but I can count with my fingers the number of times when I faced something way over my head.
One was the crazy leader of the [REVOLUTION] who calls himself the [SUCCESSOR]. That guy is the epitome of bad news.
The other is my boss. Don't let her appearance fool you. She keeps a sword underneath that desk.
They're both crazy and could squash me like a gnat, but this felt more impersonal than those two. It was like facing off with a pure force of nature.
Dee: "You've got to be kidding me...."
I thought there were limits to what a broken soul can do. And this far surpasses anything I've ever seen.
I would get squashed instantly if I tried to go directly against it. Imagine if someone asked you to stroll straight into a black hole.
But in this case, instead of getting crushed into the size of an atom, this fog was offering to help me implode into all my atomic parts. Lovely.
Dee: "I guess there's no helping it."
My butterfly buddy already flew into that fog. And of course, it had no affect on him. Nothing ever affects him. This also meant that my wandering path was also directly forward - straight into that deadly mist.
As broken souls, we can choose to go wherever we like, do whatever we want.
As a Wanderer, however, we forfeited that privilege in exchange for other perks.
Of course, the perks did not specifically include surviving deadly atomizing fogs. That wasn't part of the sign-on bonus.
So this would be an impasse. No way forward and no way back. To retreat and run would mean abandoning my Wanderer ways, and that's not an option for me - not yet at least.
As I move forward, I began imagining my soul as a smooth marble made of diamond.
Imagination plays a large role in shaping your soul.
We know less about who we are than we we care to admit, and we know far less about the world around us. It's the germ of an idea, a thought, and an inspiration that spurs the roots of our withered souls to reach further, reach farther, and reach deeper than we ever thought possible.
As someone once said, when the imagination dies, so does the soul.
Dee: "I am as I am."
I am nothing more. Nothing less.
The mantra escaped my lips as I paused to focus and concentrate. The fog was only a few steps in front of me.
Dee: "I am mind, body, and soul."
3 separate parts united by one essence.
The mind can be corrupted.
The body will age.
And the [SOUL] can be shattered but never completely destroyed. A piece of it will always remain no matter how small.
All Wanderers carry a small [SPARK].
A light that gives perspective to the mind, adrenaline to the body, and freedom to the soul - a precious, momentary instance of clarity.
It transfers that light from the soul to the mind and body, and for one brief second, we find ourselves released from the constraints of this world.
The Spark flashes as light floods out and courses through my mind and body like a river.
In that single moment, I move without meaning to. I know without knowing why. I step into the fog, and I feel my body instantly get swept into a violent vortex.