A heavily scarred man rubbed the stubble on his chin. He gazed out his office window at the top of a skyscraper which pierced the heavens themselves.

Eventually, he looked to the right at his son who was an exact image of him, excluding the scars.

After all it was his clone.

”Alex, its your last chance. I will not tolerate any more failings, and neither will they. ”

He raised his glass of whiskey to his mouth and sipped it as he awaited his sons reply. When there was none, he sighed and rubbed his brow.

”Ive managed the games for eons now, even Ive lost count and I won even bother to try. They
e making me give management over to you. They want you to fail. They want to oust me from the board, and you
e the perfect weapon to do so. So, for once in your life, make your father proud. ”

Alex clenched his fist with determination.

”Yes sir! ”

He turned to leave the office as his father slowly turned his gaze back out the window. The father sighed and took off his office suit, revealing a war-torn body.

His disconnected his prosthetic arm and laid it down at the table.

”I sense it won be long before Im dead. ” He mumbled a premonition, before scoffing in annoyance. He downed the last of his drink.


Alex got into the flying cruiser as his secretary selected their destination. Once she did so she looked back at Alex.

”Howd it go? ”

”Hes handed management of the games over to me. ” Alex muttered. He looked up at her and retold what his father had said.

”Then it must be perfect. Lets start up a new round of games, bring in more contestants! If– and it is a big if– if you find a champion, the board won be able to make a move against you. ”

She quickly answered.

”Yes, I was planning to. Management will be mine tomorrow, so well make the preparations today. I want the new round to happen as soon as possible. ”

”Yes sir. ” His secretary said with a charming smile as they arrived at a skyscraper that was as tall as the last. They quickly left the cruiser and went into the building which was completely devoid of windows.


Adrian Auclair was floating gently in a black abyss. He slowly opened his eyes to the new home he had found himself in after being sealed countless years ago.

He was never hungry, never thirsty, and never tired. The empty world simply existed as a jail built exclusively for himself. What do you do to a man thats impossible to kill?

You throw him into a bottomless pit and let the world forget him.

He had resigned to his fate ages ago. His only friend and only chance of ever leaving this place had long since abandoned him. So he was content with existing in a state of limbo.

Despite never tiring, he slept, and slept, and slept some more. Only opening his eyes once every few years, each time growing further and further apart. Now was one of those times.

Hed keep his eyes open for an hour. He counted every second and closed them exactly on the dot.

Ten seconds passed.

Then ten minutes.

Then thirty minutes.

Finally, when there was naught but three minutes left, his lifeless eyes caught a faint shimmer in the colorless void.

At first, his brain didn even perceive it. After the years of nothingness, everything blended together. It was if you roamed a desert for eternity and then some, and chanced upon a single coin. After so long, you might not even notice it.

After another minute passed, the gears in his head began turning.

Whats this…?

A glow…?

In this place…?

I wonder if its real…

For the first time in nearly an hour, he blinked.

Its still there…

It might be real then…

He blinked once more. Another minute had passed.

He tilted his head ever-so-slightly. He moved his arm slightly but stopped. He blinked again before stretching his arm out all the way to grab it.

But he grabbed nothing.


…Oh. Its far…

He slowly pushed himself towards it and started gently gliding in the abyss. As he started nearing the light, a silhouette started forming. Before he could make it out, his eyes started growing heavy, it had been an hour at this point.

His body started falling back to sleep, but got confused when the brain told it not to. However, the instincts that had been building up for so long took over as his eyelids started closing.

Oh. Its a bird.

Auclair smiled.

Reminds me of–

”–that bastard! ”

His eyes shot open and his hand shot towards the creature that seemed to be napping in a nest of twigs. Once he gripped it, he ripped the shimmering light apart.

”Only now you send a goddamn tear!? You son of a bitch! ”

The creature he just split open was a tear, a rip in the fabric of space itself. Something that shouldve been sent to this place a long, long time ago.

As he stretched the tear wide, through its body he saw a long grassy field with a mountainside backdrop. Wedged between the two was a city with large castle walls.

He tossed himself through the tear and landed on the other side, only to see the bright bird shrink to its original size and ruffle its feathers. It looked at Auclair in confusion before flying off.

Auclair let out an annoyed huff at the bird and began stretching his body. As he stretched, his bones popped and cracked. He looked back towards the large castle city in the distance.

Humanity doesn seem to have taken off since my entombment. Serves them right.

He sniffed the air.

No magic? Have the other gods forsaken this place? Or is my nose just out of practice?

He snapped his fingers only to find nothing happening.

Their magic isn working, so there really isn a faith for them here?

After a few minutes of getting his body to wake up, he took a step forward to begin investigating the world after his fall.

But he immediately stopped when he heard a loud beeping noise.

”What? ”

[Greeting Contestant! Welcome to the Hex Trials!]

Above him a large floating message appeared. He squinted his eyes in suspicion.

If theres no magic, how is that sign here? Tsk. He clicked his tongue in annoyance.

The other gods were going to get a reckoning that theyd never forget for putting him through all this.

[After helping you escape your predicament, you are now indebted to the Iron Syndicate. Your dept is calculated to being: #eRRoR games! Congratulations for passing the minimum number of games required to regain your freedom! You can also choose to keep playing for grander rewards!]

Auclair frowned.

It seemed like he was going to be annoyed a lot since waking up. Maybe it wouldve been better to accept his punishment.

No. I didn do anything after our agreement. They came to seal me. They broke our agreement, not me. There was no punishment necessary, it was all just a lie to get my guard down.

He paused for a moment and cursed.

He looked back up at the message. Were they involved in getting me out? Yohr probably couldn get the tear to me because of the other gods, but did they finally let him? And Yohr can do this magic, it must be Eruss instead. He was referring to the floating messages.

”I need answers. ” He muttered in frustration.

His gaze rose and met the city in the far distance. It was the perfect place to start; once there he could ask about the gods, their worship, maybe even the, ”Hex Trials, ” whatever those were.

Auclair clenched his fist and began making his way to the city.

He didn have hunger in that hellish place, but once he left, he felt absolutely famished.

”I guess its been long enough, and the gods did betray me… ” A sly grin grew on his face.

”Maybe its time to eat another world? ”

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