IGN: In-N-Out / Biochemist / Level 99
“Come back. Even as a shadow, even as a dream.” ― Euripides
They told me it was impossible. That countless scholars before me, each more brilliant than the last, had failed and paid the price for it with their lives. And looking at the person ― no ― at the creature that was slowly materializing into the glowing circle before me, I was struck by the realization that they had been right.
Nothing can be created without a sacrifice of equal value ― equivalent exchange, the one guiding principle that all scholars had drilled into their heads from day one at the Academy. And the value of a human soul... well there were precious few things that came close.
It was funny. You had always been the rule breaker, the one to skip classes in favor of a rare sunny day by the lake. Lighten up, you’d remind me, we have all the time in the world.
But that hadn’t been quite true had it? One stray bullet during a random fight that had broken out at the borders had easily snuffed your life out of existence, and all at once, the world seemed a little darker.
Monster! They had cried the first time you had gotten caught summoning the soul of your long-dead childhood cat into the body of a campus stray. But you hadn’t been listening to their condemnations, attention caught instead by the twitching tail and limbs of the bloody feline sacrifice. It shuddered once, twice, before slowly blinking one yellow eye open at a time.
This was it, you had thought giddily, you had done it. Those blathering old fools who croaked about the dangers of blood magic were wrong. Nothing had ever felt more right than the rush of adrenaline and power darkly coursing through your veins at that moment. A world of possibilities had opened up, spells that promised eternal youth, magical strength boosters, and of course, ones that bridged the gap between life and death.
It was wartime, so if one or two bodies disappeared in the final counts, it was easy enough for them to be written off as battlefield casualties. You retreated down to the castle cellars. Hardly anyone used them these days, so you were left undisturbed. Memories of you gradually faded from the minds of those still living.
A ghost lives down there, the senior students would whisper to wide-eyed first years, sometimes on a quiet night, if you listen closely, you can hear the screams of their victims.
You were good at what you did, so staring down the barrel of your soon-to-be-last summon prompted a dull feeling of surprise. Blank eyes returned your gaze ― there was no spark of recognition in the once familiar eyes of your dearest friend.
You saw the flash of the bullet before you heard the BANG! Light flooded the room, bringing back an almost forgotten memory.
We have all the time in the world.
And now we did. Together.