[I should not have cast Real Magic](https://www.reddit.com/r/nosleep/comments/e9ocyf/im_an_illusionist_by_trade_i_should_not_have_cast/) (Part 1)
[My Future is looking Dark](https://www.reddit.com/r/nosleep/comments/ebuow6/im_an_illusionist_by_trade_my_future_is_looking/) (Part 2)
[Real Magic Harms more than it Heals](https://www.reddit.com/r/nosleep/comments/efugsr/im_an_illusionist_by_trade_real_magic_harms_more/) (Part 3)
[My Days of Freedom are Over](https://www.reddit.com/r/nosleep/comments/ehl142/im_an_illusionist_by_trade_my_days_of_freedom_are/) (Part 4)
[I am in the strangest prison](https://www.reddit.com/r/nosleep/comments/ekcsbl/im_an_illusionist_by_trade_i_am_in_the_strangest/) (Part 5)
[I witnessed Order succumb to Chaos](https://www.reddit.com/r/nosleep/comments/emqtx7/i_am_an_illusionist_by_trade_i_witnessed_order/) (Part 6)
Samael’s words were resonating in my ears as I woke from what I had hoped was a vision.
As I got my bearings, I noticed I was in a hospital bed of some kind. There was also a weight draped against my right side and laying over my chest.
Glancing to my right, revealed Xei’s presence nearby. She was snuggled against me, on top of the sheets.
As I moved, her eye opened, and her worried expression shifted to that of excitement.
“You’re okay!” She murmured, sliding her hand over my chest.
“What happened?” I asked.
“You saved us all,” Xei said as she stretched her legs and pressed herself closer to me.
“How did I save us all?” I asked her. I was unsure how to handle Xei at the moment. The lithe beauty’s cold body was pressed tightly against me, but last I checked she had slapped me across the face upon my arrival.
“When Sofia came back, she was delirious. Her madness began to affect the temple,” Xei explained as she lay her head on my shoulder.
“I don’t understand, how can Sofia’s madness affect the temple?” I turned to her, unsure how to escape her grasp, unsure if I wanted to.
“The surfaces you recognize as marble in the temple. It’s not made of marble, it’s some kind of substrate,” Xei explained as she finally sat up, planting her elbow into the bed to face me. , “Telekinetic commands control the substrate and some other similar forms of stimuli. Whatever it is, Sofia is in tune with it. If she wanted to make the floors granite, or jelly she can do it. She can even change the oxygen mix in the temple.”
“Can anyone else do this?” I asked.
Xei shook her head, “few even knew how the Temple worked before Sofia began to control it. She is the source of order in the temple. Something affected her mental state, attempting to drive her mad.”
“What do you mean she was ‘something affected her’?” I asked, recalling the vision I had of Sofia’s memories.
“She claimed she was struck by some kind of Chaos blade,” Xei scoffed, “whatever it really was, it injected a telekinetic entity into Sofia. Whatever entity it gave her a temporary case of schizophrenia.”
“Eris,” I responded.
“Eris? Isn’t that an old Goddess?” Xei asked.
“Yes, she was a Goddess of Discord and Strife. She told me so,” I explained.
“She told you? Sofia, you mean?” Xei asked.
I shook my head, “No, Eris, the entity as you called her.”
“Right,” Xei said, incredulously.
“When I tried to heal Sofia, she showed me how she got here, showed me from her point of view. When she did, she showed me how something distorted how she saw the world. Before it became distorted it I saw the world through her eyes, it was beautiful.”
“Beautiful, huh?” Xei scoffed, sliding off the edge of the bed and stretching her arms as she got to her feet.
“Yes, Beautiful,” I hesitated as I looked to Xei, her brow furrowed. “Not Sofia, not to insult anyone, but she creeps me out.”
“Good,” Xei said, relieved, “But, you were saying? About the world being beautiful though her eyes?”
I nodded, “the way she sees everything. It’s incredible!” I exclaimed, “It was like I could see the blueprint of creation all around me. How the physical, spiritual, and even the mental facets of our world interact. It was so hard to put into words,” I struggled to explain.
“Seems like you’re doing an okay job at the moment,” Xei complimented me.
“But all that changed when someone attacked her. The other woman had some kind of distortion like it was pure chaos. As if she were holding a small tornado in her hand that blinded Sofia. The spirits twisted away from it, they became obscured. Everything became dark and twisted,” I trailed off as Xei leaned against the bed, her elbows on the bed, giving me a view of her cleavage, “Sorry, I keep saying that.”
“You seem to be,” Xei mused. “So this, *Eris*, is what did this to her?”
“There was some kind of connection in Sofia’s head,” I clarified, trying to remain focused despite Xei’s attempts to distract me.
“The construct, you mean, named Eris,” Xei clarified, “sorry I’m trying to break this down to make sense.”
“Do you not believe in magic?” I asked.
“I believe in the unseen,” Xei said, straightening herself. “We don’t understand how the world works.”
“I do see spirits, though,” I countered.
Xei heaved a sigh, “you always were confusing.” She grinned to me, “You never let me dissect anything, well until now…” Xei trailed off, before focusing back to me, “I’ll be able to unravel exactly what’s going on around here!” she gushed.
“You seem happy about that,” I pointed out.
“There has been so much scientific innovation lately,” Xei reasoned, “I have almost cracked the state of the temple, creating devices that we should be able to operate to control aspects of the entire temple. Hopefully to where we can rely on machines instead of Sofia’s mental state. Because if she goes mad again, or dies, we won’t lose the temple.”
“We came that close to the end, didn’t we?”
“We did, but you saved us!” Xei praised, “you always come through in the end.” Her expression shifted, “well, except that one time where you went on your last mission and died, leaving me alone with my father,” she glared at me.
“I don’t remember this!” I shouted, “The only thing I remember is visions! Dreams of…” as I recalled my dreams, I began to recall who they were about. Yes, I dreamed of a woman with bright red hair, a single eye, and a pretty face. The issue was that all the memories and dreams I had were of a woman with her hair on the other side of her face.
That would mean I dreamt of Tasha, but was involved with Xei.
Maybe Tasha was right, maybe in my past life, I latched on to Xei out of jealousy or spite. Was it more anger? Competition maybe? It wasn’t fair to either sister, regardless of what I did.
Was I that much of a prick? If I was, why was Xei still interested in me? We had to share something, didn’t we? It couldn’t have just been spite.
I focused back on Xei, “I’m sorry, I remember your face, but only from snippets of dreams. I remember nothing else about you, or me, or how we interacted.”
“Well,” Xei said as her hand crept over my thigh, “perhaps we can become reacquainted. How’s that?”
I grinned at her, “I would like that a lot actually.”
“Well, good!” Xei announced.
“Then lets take this to my room,” I said as I hopped out of the hospital bed.
“Oh, your… right well…” Xei stammered.
“Is your room better?” I asked.
Xei frowned, “I… I don’t sleep so I don’t really have a room yet-”
“So to mine it is!” I took her hand, leading towards my quarters before I stopped myself, “I’m not being too forward, am I?”
“This is how you and I first met,” Xei beamed. “But, last time, I made the first move.”
“Did you now?” I said as we ascended the stairs.
“You need to understand,” she said as she took my hand in hers, “I’m *very* direct.”
While Tasha was the more voluptuous sister, Xei had beautiful qualities herself. Despite her cold hands and pale skin, her elfish features and frame gave her a very alluring body. I would never kick someone like Xei out of my bed for eating crackers.
As we headed up, she kept discussing our previous escapades in great detail, “I hope you’re as good a lover as you were in your past life. You knew exactly where to touch me,” she grinned, looking over her shoulder at me.
I moved behind her, sliding my hand under her shirt and over her waist. With a playful motion, my finger caressed her belly button, “I think I have a good idea how to get a woman engaged.”
Xei giggled as I tickled her, “Oh, good. That much hasn’t changed.”
We made our way to my bedroom, heading up the stairs past the angel statues in the foyer.
As we entered my room, however, something wasn’t right. I heard Rose crying.
“Rose?” I asked.
“Oh, I met Rose before,” Xei informed me sheepishly, “She’s a very sweet girl!”
“You’ve met her before?” I asked as I approached Rose’s pot.
Rose’s petals were closed, and she had her leaves over her face.
“What’s wrong Rose?”
“Father!” Rose whimpered.
I looked her over and noticed a slight scrape on the thickest part of her stem. Sap was leaking out of the scrape, it appeared almost surgical.
“What happened?” I asked.
“That woman came in here!” Rose motioned to Xei, “She… She…” Rose turned from Xei.
I faced Xei, “What did you do?”
“It was just a sample,” Xei defended. “I came here looking for you, but then I met Rose. She said she was your daughter. After we cleared up how that worked, exactly, I spoke with the cute little thing, she explained magic created her.” Xei shrugged, “All I did was ask if I could take a sample!”
“She agreed to it!” Xei scoffed, “I don’t know what she’s so worked up about!”
“Rose, is that true? Did you agree to this?”
Rose whimpered, “I didn’t know what a sample was! I got scared when she pulled out the knife and nicked me!”
“It can’t be that painful to her, is it?” Xei summarized.
Rose’s tears confirmed her fear and surprise at having a portion of her stem scrapped.
“Zithero? Earth to Zithero? She’ll be just fine! Plants and even animals heal quickly from minor skin abrasions,” Xei explained.
“Get out,” I growled.
“Excuse me?” Xei protested.
“I said,” I now shouted, “Get Out!”
Taken aback and confused, Xei stammered “I didn’t mean to hurt her!” Xei defended, “She said it was okay! I never would have done something to harm your daughter, Zithero.”
“Get out!!” I screamed.
Xei shrunk back. “I-I’m sorry,” Xei squeaked as she slinked out the door, “…don’t hate me.”
I stormed towards the door and shut it in Xei’s face, making sure to lock it.
“I don’t like her,” Rose whimpered.
“I’m so sorry Rose,” I consoled as I crossed the room, “I had no idea she would, or anyone would do anything to hurt you.”
“I was so scared!” Rose simpered. “She came in and seemed nice at first. She was excited and said I was interesting. Then she asked if she could take a sample of me. I asked what a sample was, and she said ‘oh, it’s nothing’, and I said ‘sure’ but then she pulled out a razor and she cut me!” Rose sobbed.
I examined Rose’s ‘hip’ portion of her stem. It was a relatively small section cut from her stem. Still, I was furious, subcutaneous or not, it distressed Rose. Sap leaked slowly from the cut, I tapped it and found the flow was very slow.
“Does it hurt?”
Rose shook her head, “I was more scared than anything else. I thought she would cut me down!”
“I can fix this for you,” I said as I placed my hand over the wound, and began to chat a simple healing spell.
Slowly but surely stem flesh covered the wound, leaving a small dark green scar on her hip.
Rose rested her face resting on my shoulder, “thank you, father.”
“You’re welcome, Rose.” I looked her over again, “Rose?”
“Yes, father?” she said as her pedals began to bloom again.
“I promise, from now on, no one other than me will ever come into this room, understand?” I hoped I could lock the door, but if I had to do anything more drastic, I would.
Rose smiled, “Okay.”
“Does that make you feel better?”
Rose nodded, adding, “I am thirsty.”
“Okay,” I said, hefting up her pot, “You’re getting heavy.”
Rose tittered happily.
“Let’s head down to the fountain, and get you some Manna, sound good?”
“Sounds good!” Rose chirped.
I made my way down the steps toward the fountain, facing the steps, to ensure Rose’s pot wasn’t leading. The steps were wide enough to make this an easy task; it was just difficult for me to see over Rose’s pot and stem. I didn’t want Rose to bump into anything.
However, once I made my way to the landing of the steps, and turned, Rose shouted, “Father, Lookout!”
Without me seeing what was there, I smacked into something that felt like a wall that came from nowhere.
Said wall, then spoke, “Sorry!” a young woman’s voice apologized, “I didn’t see you down there.”
I looked up to see a massive woman, almost 215cm tall! What I would describe as an Amazon woman, her violet eyes gazed down at me.
Her voice was uncharacteristically chipper and happy.
She peered down at me, smiling happily, “Sorry, you’re kind of short for a man! No offense,” she said as she backed away.
“None taken,” I stammered.
Now that she was no longer taking up most of my vision, I spotted her massive white wings.
Rose looked up, and in classic Rose fashion, beamed, “Wow you’re huge!”
My throat went dry as I worried if this woman was about to ‘smash the puny man’ and his flower.
“You’re the biggest Angel I’ve ever seen!” Rose commented.
“Woah!” The giant woman grinned, settling down to her haunches, “I’ve never seen a talking flower before!”
“I’m Rose!” Rose introduced herself.
The Amazon Angel woman smiled, holding out her finger, “My name is Zepherina!”
Rose wrapped her make-shift finger-leaves around Zepherina’s finger, ‘shaking’ her hand.
They appeared to be getting along well enough, smiling at one another.
“So, how did you make her?” Zepherina asked me.
“Well, she said ‘Father’ so uh, did you… uhm?” Zepherina insinuated.
“Oh, no no!” I clarified, “Rose came about because of a magic spell I cast that…” I turned to Rose, smiling, “produced something a little extra.”
“You can cast *magic*?” Zepherina asked, grinning wide to me. “That makes way more sense than you somehow having sex with a flower. What kind of magic can you cast?”
I motioned to Rose, “Earth magic.” As I did, Rose’s pot was proving much for me to hold, and I nearly slipped with her.
“Oh, please allow me!” Zepherina said, taking Rose’s pot with no effort in one arm, “you were looking tired!”
Rose chirped nervously, “uh, Thanks.”
“Don’t worry, I won’t hurt you!” Zepherina announced, “I’m delicate with stuff, I drop nothing, I promise.”
“You swear?” Rose asked.
“I swear!” Zepherina grinned mischievously and buckled her knees slightly, mock ‘dropping’ Rose.
Rose yelped in freight. As Zepherina caught her, Rose laughed after she found it was merely a joke.
My heart was in my throat the entire time as Zepherina played with Rose. Everything at least seemed fine.
“Where were you two headed?” Zepherina asked.
“The Fountain,” I replied, distraught.
“Oh, I know where that is!” Zepherina informed, “follow me!”
I followed Zepherina and noticed she wasn’t wearing any guided armor or uniforms. Just a simple tank top that displayed her muscular arms. A pair of leggings in a camo style tightly wrapped around her powerful legs, ending in a pair of sneakers.
I tried to keep up with the mighty woman, her huge wings and stature hid everything in front of her from me. Her long strides were hard to keep up with.
As I struggled to keep up behind her, I caught bits and pieces of what her and Rose were discussing.
“Oh, wow, so you keep growing whenever you get water from the Fountain?” Zepherina asked Rose.
“Uh-huh!” Rose confirmed.
“Yes,” I chimed in, short of breath, “It sustains her far better than normal water.”
Zepherina looked to her right, then down to realize I was there. Well, behind her by a few paces. She noticed I was having difficulty keeping up with her. “Oh, sorry! You’re a lot shorter than the folks I’m used to seeing! I’ll slow down for you!”
Mercifully she reduced her speed and I could keep a leisurely pace with her as we made our way down the steps to the Fountain.
“So,” I asked, looking up to Zepherina, “what’s your story?”
“I am the second crown princess of the great city-state of Penthesil!” she proudly announced. “My sister was originally the only one requested, but I couldn’t let her have all the fun.” Zepherina grinned.
“Wait, you snuck in here?” I asked.
Zepherina chuckled, “I disguised myself as a royal guard and snuck out of Pethensil with Eva and Lady Tasha.”
“Eva?” I asked.”
“Eva is the crown princess of Penthesil, and heir to the throne of the Metatron,” Zepherina explained.
“Wait, I thought Timothy was the Metatron?”
Zepherina rolled her eyes, “well, Eva and Timothy are fraternal twins, sure. Right now both of them need to do it.”
“To do, what?” I inquired.
“Talk to God,” Zepherina pointed out.
“Talk to God?” I repeated.
“Oh!” Rose chirped, “can they ask him any question at all?”
Zepherina beamed to Rose, “It’s more listening than talking. Repeating His words as commands and direction, you know? I don’t think Timothy or Eva can ask questions. They’re kind of God’s *mouthpiece*.”
“So, Timothy literally speaks for God?” I asked, frowning, unsure now of where I fit into all of this.
“Yep! So you better always listen to what he says! He’s always right!” Zepherina’s smile faded, “even when he says I need to stand down.”
“Stand down?” I asked.
“Yeah, I’m kind of sidelined most of the time. Timothy said it’s too risky to his plans to have me go out and about too frequently,” Zepherina explained as we entered the Fountain room. “Which is stupid! If I was there, Sofia never would have gotten hurt! I’d have smacked that Penthesil woman around and laid her flat on her ass!” Zepherina placed Rose’s pot on a bench near the Fountain.
“I guess I’m with you there,” I explained, smiling, “I’m stuck here too. At Timothy’s request.”
Zepherina sighed, sitting down. “I came here to fight! I can help, I can! Demond might have taken down the Captain who attacked Sofia, but I could have done it just as well.”
“Why does Timothy exclude you? You seem…” I looked over her physique, “Rather imposing.”
Zepherina’s face fell as she watched me fill up a cup and wet Rose’s soil. “I don’t know. He told me I have one task to train for.” She looked up to the ceiling, “Said it’s important and that if I get the opportunity, I need to do it without fail.”
“What’s that?” I asked.
Zepherina turned to me, grinning, “If I see Empress Ragna Misho, I’m to attack her on sight. With everything I have. I’m to go all out on her, not let her get a word in, and just keep hammering at her until she stops moving.” Zepherina frowned. “I don’t see how I’ll do so unless I get my hands dirty in a fight.”
“I’m afraid I’m not sure who this Empress Ragna is,” I admitted.
Zepherina’s eyes narrowed, “She’s attacked my homeland, and somehow tricked my mother into not only turning over the city but also into marrying her.”
I stared at Zepherina for a moment, “Wait, I thought Ragna is a woman, yes?”
Zepherina nodded, “Yeah.”
“How did she… marry your mother?” I asked.
Zepherina shrugged, “I don’t know. My mother would never marry someone like her! I always saw her hanging around Launa of the House of Hestia. They were close, so I figured if my mother would ever take a bride it would be Launa.”
“Oh… wait if your mother is a Lesbian then… well, how did you come about?” I asked.
Zepherina gave me a withering glare, “by having sex like anyone else. She went out, found someone to give her a suitable child, and had me.”
“I didn’t mean to offend,” I tried to apologize.
Zepherina stood up, looking to Rose, “It’s fine, I should get going.”
Rose didn’t seem to experience as huge a growth spurt as I had expected. As I hefted up her pot, however, it was too much for me. “Um,” I stammered, “Zepherina?”
Zepherina turned to me, “Yeah?”
“Could you… maybe help me carry Rose back to my room?”
Zepherina smiled again, “sure! But it’s because I like Rose, not you.” she joked.
At least I hoped she was joking.
As I settled Rose in by her window, I turned to Zepherina, “Thanks again.”
“It was my pleasure,” Zepherina said, beaming to Rose, “it was nice meeting you!”
“You too!” Rose chirped.
“Am I interrupting something?” I heard Tasha’s voice asked from the doorway.
I turned to see her in her normal robes, but now carrying a long white staff.
The staff was of Dogwood, that I could tell right away! It had an immense spiritual power pulsing from it. Had she soaked it in the Manna from the Fountain?
“Oh, no not at all,” I stammered, taken aback by the might of the object she held in her hand.
“Good Zithero, you said you had some unfinished business to attend to? I can help you with it if you’d like,” Tasha beamed.
“What kind of unfinished business?” Zepherina asked.
Tasha frowned, “Zithero said his magic left someone in a rather painful state. I am hoping we can resolve it.”
“You think we can?” I asked.
Zepherina beamed, “does it involve leaving the Temple for a bit?”
“Then I’m coming as security!” Zepherina announced.
“I don’t think we’ll need-” Zepherina cut Tasha off as she ran past her.
“I will get my armor, don’t you dare leave without me!” Zepherina called back.
Tasha sighed, “Well, I suppose it can’t hurt.”
“I need something before we leave, if I have any hope of fixing what I did,” I informed Tasha.
“What’s that?” she asked.
“I need that staff of dogwood,” I said, recalling what the Angel Samael had told me, “Dogwood from before the martyr’s blood cursed it. That it, isn’t it?”
Tasha gave me a quizzical look, placing her staff firmly on the ground, “My staff *is* Dogwood, as you describe. However, It’s not something *you* can have.”
I looked to the staff, and she was right. Something wasn’t making sense, “I was told to find it, and that it was the staff of exodus.”
“That would be a staff of Almond wood,” Tasha pointed out, “Not my staff.”
I recalled Samael’s words, and wondered about how he phrased everything, “wait…” I looked to her, and realized that Timothy wouldn’t let me into his relic room if I had asked, if he had such a place. “You’re to lead me there!”
Tasha raised an eyebrow, “why is that?”
I showed her my ring, “Samael explained that I needed to find the staff of Exodus, that Timothy had it stowed here in the Temple.”
Tasha’s face fell, “Timothy has many ancient relics in the vault, but the last time someone went inside…” Tasha trailed off, looking to the floor, her eye growing distant.
“Please,” I pleaded, “Samael told me I must find it.”
Tasha faced me, “If Samael had said so, then so be it.” Tasha’s usual smile did not return as she moved from the doorway, “far be it from me to defy an angel as woeful as he is.”
I frowned, “Woeful?” I headed out the door.
“Father!” Rose cried.
I turned to Rose from the threshold, “Yes Rose?”
“Don’t forget to lock the door,” She frowned.
“I won’t,” I closed the door, locking it behind me.
After heading down into the foyer Tasha led me to a doorway just before the start of the large staircase that took us to the Fountain.
Tasha hesitated for a moment, “He said you needed this staff, and that it was here?”
I nodded, “Yes, he even said that if I got captured, I was to throw the staff and my ring away.”
Tasha took a deep break, and opened the door, “quickly, before someone notices and I regret doing this.”
I headed inside and spotted several odd-looking objects with all manners of runes and spiritual power about them.
Each object pulses with power, not unlike Manna, and as I wandered through the room, I could feel one item call to me more so than others.
Set back against the far wall with many other similar walking sticks was a tall wooden staff with a small branch that stuck out from the top about 5cm or so at a forty-five-degree angle.
There were other staves there, other walking sticks that had some kind of energy to them, but none like this one.
It resonated with such a powerful energy that the others paled compared to it.
I reached out to it and took it in my hands.
In a moment, a surge of visions rushed past my eyes.
A booming voice filled my ears.
*With this Staff, you shall do My wonders,* Timothy’s voice resonated in my ears.
I saw a vision of the staff changing shape, taking the form of a snake, and devouring another pair, not unlike itself.
*With this Staff, you shall carry My wrath,* a woman’s voice echoed in a similar tone as Timothy’s voice did.
I watched in horror as hundreds of soldiers drowned in a tidal wave, horses and chariots drowning beneath a mighty and powerful current.
I gasped, the staff now in my hands.
“Zithero? Are you okay?” Tasha asked.
“Yes,” I shivered, “I think so.”
Now I am worried if I was becoming an instrument of God or a conduit of destruction. Was I now the [Beast](https://www.facebook.com/DevlinRiptide) of [Earth](https://www.reddit.com/r/The_Guardian_Temple/)?