By Joker's Specter
I suppose an explanation should be here. Well, my only explanation is that I wanted to try something new... The first part of it is pure humor. After that, it's not at all the same.
Disclaimer: I do not own Golden Sun. Golden Sun is owned by Camelot and Nintendo.
There I was, just lying in the middle of the forest near Vale - my hometown - and staring at a spider. A purple spider. A very large purple spider. 'Course, he couldn't see me. I was hiding in the bushes, which is where my daring escape from the wrath of my sister had led me. That's right...bushes... When someone as scary as Kay - my sister - starts chasing you with a frying pan, even bushes are good hiding spots. Actually, what am I saying? Kay always found me during all of those "Hide & Seek" games we used to play, bushes or no bushes.
The only problem with hiding in this bush was my tall, spiky, red hair. I had to lay down to keep it from showing out of the bushes. That's when the spider appeared.
Sure, I've seen big spiders before near Vale before, but this particular arachnid blew all other competition away...and with style. I mean, he's purple!
He was roughly half my size, which is fairly large considering I'm the biggest Mars Adept around. Well, no...I'm the biggest any Adept around...and proud of it too. 'Course, being the largest wasn't always the best...Kay had enough rage and anger stored in her to scare even the largest of men. The largest of men being me. Plus...there's always the fact that she threatens to tell people about that time she caught me trying on her clothes when I was younger. That didn't work too well, considering I had forgotten how much larger I was than her, even back then.
But that's beside the point.
The purple spider, whom I will call "Ugly" from now on, passed by my bushes, reeking of dead squirrels and mice.
Don't ask how I know what dead rodents smell like... All I'll say is that I used to have "pets" that I kept in the basement. Usually I forgot to feed them.
That's beside the point again.
Ugly the Spider didn't seem to notice me, which I assumed was good. He just lazily moved past me, reminding me how I moved in the morning. I never was one to pass up a challenge...at least when it came to killing monsters. I figured that if Kay happened to find me, she'd stop wanting to kill me if I was locked in battle with a spider as hideous as Ugly. Even Kay wouldn't kill me for reading her diary if she knew I was busy trying to protect myself.
It seemed like a good plan at the time...
So me being the monster-killer that I am, and also in desperate need of a way to get Kay to be even a little less angry with me, I jumped out of the bushes shouting something along the lines of "YAAAHHH!", and ran at the wretched, purple, eight-legged abomination.
I really hadn't expected the damn thing to spin around and bite me. I didn't even have my sword unsheathed! I made a mental note after I initially screamed my brains out that spiders are quicker than me. Even purple ones...
So, with Ugly clamped onto my left arm, and waving my right arm around screaming bloody-murder...it was only natural that things would get worse when Kay stepped through the trees.
It made me wish that spider bites would tickle, and older sisters weren't those kind of people who just watched as their brothers were being chewed on by purple arachnids.
Not in this world...
And there you have it, full evidence that sisters are evil. People who aren't evil don't let their siblings be dinner - or in this case breakfast - for certain purple monsters.
Then again, that's not what I was trying to prove...
Back to my little tale...
I was screaming something 'bout pain, naturally, and Kay finally remembered that she had a frying pan in her hand. Spiders squish good under those...even large, ugly, purple ones attached to a certain person's arm.
Seconds after the loud smacking sounds were heard of a frying pan hitting said large spider, the cretin ran away making a hideous squealing sound, as if it was the one who got the raw end of the deal.
No, not my sister...I'm talking about the spider.
My light-red-haired sister tried to calm me down, saying that the spider was gone. I wasn't screaming about the spider, I was screaming because she was still carrying that frying pan, and she had just shown me how hard she can hit with it.
Eventually, as it seemed, she got sick of my yelling and smacked me over the head with the metal object. I'm pretty sure I blacked out instantly. Either that, or she hit me again, and then I blacked out.
-- -- -- -- --
"Hmm? Who's that?"
I don't know... Who are you?
"Hey, I asked you first."
I don't know who I am. Who are you?
"Ah...whatever. I'm Garet...I think... Yeah, I'm Garet."
Oh... Can you see anything?
"Umm...yes. I'm in my bedroom."
Where? I can't see anything.
"I'm on my bed. Why can't you see? And where are you?"
I don't know...
"Right...well, now what?"
The house. Tell me what you see as you go along. I need you to be my eyes.
"Ah...of course...be your eyes. So, why don't you have your own?"
I do...I think. Just, forget about that. We'll figure out that later. Tell me what you see. Go downstairs, please.
"Right...well, I'm opening the door now. I hope somebody will have breakfast waiting. Er...wait, what time is it?"
Wouldn't it be morning? You just woke up, after all.
"Ah, good point. The sun is up, too."
Yeah... Where are you now?
"Um...my bedroom still..."
...Well, leave it.
"Mmmkay... Hey, so this is a dream, right? I mean, it feels more real than a regular dream...but you're a voice in my head... So, it's a dream, right?"
Possibly... I wouldn't know. I'm just a voice in your head, remember?
"Yeah... Well, I mean, 'cause in normal dreams I'd be probably be running off with some girl, and be free from stress and stuff."
"Uh...yeah, I guess. Hey, you aren't a girl, are you? I can't tell..."
That makes two of us.
"Eh...well, to be safe, I think I'll just assume you're a guy. I don't want some girl hearing my thoughts."
Uh huh. So, where are you now?
"Kitchen, making me a sandwich."
A sand... Wait, skip the food. I want you to go outside.
"Skip breakfast? Why? What's outside?"
I don't know... If this is a dream, it wouldn't matter if you ate or not, right?
"Heh, I guess... All right, you win."
Good. I have this feeling that this dream is meant to take us outside.
"Feeling? Wha? Now you're a Jupiter Adept or something?"
I don't know.
"Okay, so you don't know anything about you then... No memories?"
Memories... The only thing that I can see is that something is telling me to go outside.
"Oh. Okay then...maybe you're a guardian angel, heh. Wait 'til Isaac hears about this one."
Isaac... That name jumps out to me.
"Heh, can't see why. He's not a jumpy kind of guy."
...Are you outside yet?
"Yeah. Isaac's walking up the path to me right now. That's why I mentioned him."
Wait... You don't. No. Do you have a weapon?
"No. Should I?"
Yes, I think you should.
"Why's that? Some Jupiter Adept thing telling you that I'm about to be attacked?"
I don't know.
"'Course you don't. Let me talk to Isaac first. He seems to have something important to say."
Fine. Later then.
Just talk to him, like you said you wanted to do.
"Fine, fine. Here he comes now."
Is he really that good of a friend to you?
"Of course he is! He's been my best friend ever since I can remember."
"Huh...well, that's weird."
"He didn't say much...just that he has a loose thread on his scarf that he wants me to pull off. It's right in front of him, but he wants me to do it for some reason."
Best friends, indeed... Pull it then.
"I am...it's not coming off. It's just making it worse."
Yank it off.
"Gah, the scarf is coming apart!"
What's Isaac doing?
"Nothing! He's just staring at the ground!"
Are you still pulling the thread?
"Yeah, I am. It's ruined half the scarf... My hand is tangled up in the string."
"I still am. It's getting really ba- Wha?!"
"It's...Isaac! He's falling apart with the scarf!"
You mean he's unraveling like the scarf?
"What do I do?!"
Are you still pulling the thread?
"What the hell do you think? No, I'm not! He's still falling apart though!"
"He's smiling! Half of his body is in a pile at his feet and he's smiling!"
If this is all a dream...does it matter?
"I...but, it all feels real..."
But it's not. So you shouldn't be worried about Isaac. In fact, this is something you could laugh at.
Yeah, because it's not like this kind of thing could happen for real. Just think of it as a funny thing that Isaac was pulled apart by a thread.
"But it's not funny... You can't see it...it's horrible."
Still, it may be the best way to cope with it. Just laugh about it. In fact, you don't even need to laugh. Just shrug it off and move on.
"Yeah... I guess I should do that."
Now go on and drop whatever you have left of him in your hand.
-- -- -- -- --
What's going on?
"I don't know. Something changed... It's dark..."
...Is it scary?
"Heh, no way! I mean...it's creepy, yeah. Still, a little Psynergy to light the room up never hurt anybody."
Except those who would disagree with you using your fire inside a room.
"Huh, yeah... Isaac and Jenna do hate that..."
But...they aren't here. And you need light.
"Yeah, good point. I'm beginning to like you more and more."
"Well...turns out I'm just in a room. Nothing sticks out of the ordinary. Heck, there isn't anything here."
Isn't that unusual?
"Not really. My room looked like this once... My mom threw out all of my stuff for a day or so because she was mad at how messy it was."
Heh, I bet that made you mad.
"'Course it did."
Anyway...is there a door?
"Yes... I'm wondering how I got in here, though."
"Uh...'cause it's weird that I'd just end up in a room all of the sudden..."
Not if it's a dream.
"Yeah, but...ah...well...you're right... Whatever, I'm going out the door now."
Break it down?
"Nah...it's a stone door. The rest of the place may look like a bedroom, but this door is really out of place."
Well...maybe you just aren't pushing hard enough.
"The joints are on the inside. I need to pull it, not push it."
"Anyway...this is hurting my hands. If the problem is that I'm not pulling hard enough, then I won't be able to open it anyway."
Well...maybe there's another way out...
"Like what? I told you, the room is completely empty."
Heh, nobody said you couldn't burn through the floors in a dream, right?
"Actually...Kraden told me that in dreams, most of the things that seem real will react realistically. So if I burn the floor...and it doesn't create a hole fast enough..."
Then you burn to death? In a dream?
"Er...yeah... I guess you can't die in a dream, huh?"
Not that I know of.
"All right then. Here goes... Right in the center."
"I know. I'm going slow."
"You know...this would be easier if you had your own body."
Can't help you there.
"Yeah...anyway, I should be able to just break the wood now with my foot. It seems like it's weak enough."
So do it.
Good. See anything?
"Hold on. I'm just about through...I need to make a big enough hole."
See what's down there.
...Well? What do you see?
"I...I think...that's Isaac... He's..."
"It's hard to explain... He's trapped in a wall or something...I...I don't know."
What do you mean? Give me a better description.
"Ah...it's a cave or something...and on one of the walls right below here, half of his body is stuck inside the wall...like...like it melted into it..."
Well, do you see a door or a way out?
"Y-Yes... But Isaac..."
It's a dream. He's fine. Jump down there so you can get out of here.
"But he's calling my name..."
You can't help him. Just go.
Really, if this scene frightens you, it's easier to just run out of the room, right?
Good. Now jump down there and go out the door, or whatever it was that you saw.
"It's a door... All right, I'll jump down..."
"Okay...I'm down...I think I need to help Isaac. He looks like he's in pain."
What if whatever happened to him happens to you? Plus, it's a dream, remember?
"Yeah...but, you're not the one who has to hear this all. It hurts, almost... He really sounds like he's in pain."
Then you should leave quickly so you don't have to hear it anymore.
"This...is bizarre... He's...oh God..."
"I don't know...he's spazzing out."
Well, like I said, just leave. It's a dream.
"I...can't. He's my best friend..."
Best friend? Maybe at one point he was, but he's not anymore.
"What are you talking about?"
He's putting you through all these weird images, isn't he? Because of him, you're worried, right? No best friend would do that.
Just go out the door. You can't do anything to save him anyway.
"...Yeah...I guess you're right..."
Of course I am.
-- -- -- -- --
"I went through the door...and, well, now I'm positive this is a dream. Or a nightmare..."
Where are you?
"Heh...on top of the Mars Lighthouse."
Huh...well, what do you see?
"Yeah, but I'm with the others. It looks like we just finished off that dragon that was really Isaac's dad and Jenna's parents."
Can they see you?
"Nope. I keep calling their names. I'm on a separate tower, actually, and it's windy, so maybe they can't hear me through the wind."
Don't you think it's better that they don't? Two Garets might seem odd.
"That's true...but, it's a dream, right? Heh."
Yeah, but what would contacting them accomplish anyway? Why don't you just go?
"No, no, I will. It's just that...well...this is interesting to watch. It's kind of weird..."
What is? Seeing yourself?
"No, not that. This isn't exactly what happened though...I mean, I can see that the other me is injured really bad. He keeps kneeling down to rest."
Exhausted after the battle?
"Maybe... I wasn't exhausted after the battle when it happened for real. I was working on helping with Isaac's dad...I didn't have time to rest."
So this is some alternate version of what happened?
"Seems to be... Well, now it's just weird though. I'm laying down on the ground."
Uh huh...yes, that's strange.
"Oh, I remember this part. This is where we escape with Isaac's dad and Jenna's parents."
But you're laying on the ground, right?
"...Yes...and they just ran down the stairs. They left me there..."
Ah...so they deserted you.
"Um...yes, but, this isn't real."
Well, this may not be, but I'm sure there've been times when they've deserted you before.
"No...well, yes, but not really."
Not really, or yes? Which is it?
"Um...well, sometimes they make fun of me... That's not really deserting me, though."
But shouldn't Isaac defend you in cases like that? He is your best friend after all.
"Yeah, he should...but, well, it's all for fun."
To them maybe. It hurts you, doesn't it? When you're mocked for your actions or thinking, it makes you feel bad.
Do you trust Isaac?
Even though he mocks you?
"Yeah...he's my friend, I'm supposed to trust him."
Have you done anything wrong to him?
"Not that I know of..."
I see... Garet, it sounds like the only person you need to trust is yourself.
Yes, because only you know how much it can hurt when you're made fun of. You know yourself best, and therefore you should only trust yourself.
That's right. From now on.
"Yeah...yeah, okay. But I'm still friends with Isaac. I mean, he's not all that bad..."
-- -- -- -- --
"Er...it changed again."
I see...where are you now, then?
"This...this is a hospital... And...there's Isaac on the bed."
Is he ill?
"Yes, I think so. He doesn't have any injuries that I can see... There's nobody around to ask, so I don't know."
How bad does he look?
"I'm no doctor, how am I supposed to know?"
Well, just describe it to me.
"Well, all right then... He's sleeping, and he's sweating a lot. He looks like he's in pain. A lot of pain."
Oh...then wouldn't it be in your best interest to help him? After all, you are his best friend.
"Yeah, but how? Remember? Not a doctor."
Yes, which is why killing him would be the best way to put him out of his misery, seeing as how that's the only way you know to help him.
"W-What?! Kill him?!"
That's what I said.
"I can't kill him!"
"Because! It's wrong!"
It was wrong of him to abandon you at the Mars Lighthouse, wasn't it?
"Yes! But...but that's just a dream!"
So is this.
"I know that...but, I can't go through with it."
Don't worry, it'll be fine. It'll help him. He's suffering.
"Yes...he's suffering...but that doesn't mean I can just kill him!"
Yes it does. Trust me on this.
"Trust you?! I don't even know who you are! Besides, you said to trust myself only!"
I did, and I meant every word of it. That's why you should trust me.
"You...what? Wait, what do you mean?"
You and I share the same memories. We are the same person. That's why I haven't taken a form...because, you are my form.
"...So, I'm talking to myself? I'm crazy?"
Hardly. It's just the same as if someone was debating with themselves on admitting love to another person. This is a dream, so it's possible for two sides of one person to be separate.
"I...guess that makes sense..."
Yeah, it does. Now, why don't you do us a favor and put our friend out of his misery?
"Yeah...after all...it's all a dream..."
-- -- -- -- --
I bolted upright in the bed, the images still staining my mind.
"I killed Isaac..." I muttered to myself.
"Wha? Oh, you're awake!" said a voice beside me. I glanced over, noticing that I was in my bedroom, to spot Kay sitting in a chair beside my window. A book was in her hand, and a expression of joy was spread across her face.
I had no idea why my sister was so happy, but it felt good to see her.
"Ugh...what...what happened?" I whispered, rubbing my eyes. Kay didn't seem to hear me, and instead of responding, she jumped out of the chair and ran to my door.
Sticking her head out part of the way, she yelled, "Hey, everybody! He's up!"
I was confused, but I figured that something bad must've happened. The last thing I remember was...killing Isaac. I shook my head to try to get rid of the memory.
"Now wait a minute, everyone!" came a voice from the hallway. I recognized it as Kraden's. "Just...remember what I told you. You, come with me," he said. After a few more seconds passed, Kraden walked into the room wearing a look of concern. The person who entered the room reminded me of what I had done. I didn't care if it was a dream. It was all too shocking.
"Hello Garet," said Isaac. "Are you well?"
I recognized his voice, but it didn't sound like him. Before I could answer, Kraden said, "Now, Garet, I think you should know that you've had something happen to you that may or may not have altered...well...it's hard to explain. Do you remember getting bit by a large purple spider?"
The memory of Ugly pouncing on me came rushing back into my thoughts. I shuddered, and looked down at my now bandaged arm, saying, "Yeah. He bit me on my arm."
"Yes, yes, we know that. The thing is, though, that the species of spider you encountered is extremely rare...and it's venom is, well, unique," Kraden said, looking down at a book in his hand.
"Unique?" I repeated.
"Yes. There are few cases with survivors, and, luckily for you, I've administered the antidote...but it may have been too late. I've saved you from dying, but I'm not sure if I've saved you from its other effects."
I never really paid much attention to anything that Kraden said, but I was interested in what he was saying now. "And what are those?" I asked.
"In simpler terms, confusion. Distortion of fantasy and reality. It takes awhile to take full force, working very slowly," Kraden replied, avoiding my gaze. "But you've been out for a good month and a half. It took us a long time to gather all the ingredients for the antidote."
"Wha...what?" I asked, stunned. I couldn't believe that I had been unconscious for a month and a half. It had to have been a joke.
Yes... A joke.
"So, if it does take effect, your dreams enter your reality. For example, if in your dreams there's an opposing force that is against you, then while you're awake you will see that opposing force. The symptoms can be a wide variety of things, but nearly all of them can be described as insanity."
"I'm...not insane..." I muttered, looking from Kay, to Kraden, and then finally to Isaac. I was hoping to catch a smile on their faces, indicating that this was all a joke. However, they all looked very serious.
"We aren't sure of that. There are a series of tests I will be putting you through... At this point, there's no way of curing you other than sitting you down and trying to get rid of your fantasies that occur in reality," stated Kraden professionally. He stood up and walked over to Isaac.
"The first test is...I want you to tell me who this is. This is the most commonly failed test when it comes to your symptoms," he said, looking at me behind his glasses. I could see nervousness in his eyes, and I didn't like it.
He doesn't trust you. You shouldn't trust him.
I heard a small gasp from my left, where Kay stood. Isaac looked up at Kraden, and then back to me. Kraden, meanwhile, closed his eyes.
"Garet..." he whispered. "I believe we were too late after all..."
"What?" I asked. "It's not Isaac?"
"No, it's not. It's Ivan."
"It's...it's not Ivan...is it?" I asked with a hint of fright in my voice. I couldn't mistake my best friend for another friend. True, my vision was a little blurry, but that could have been because I had just woke up.
No, you couldn't be mistaken. They're wrong, and you're right.
"Garet...will you please stay here for a moment? I need to go out and speak with the others," said Kraden, giving me a hard look. After spending a moment under his stare, I looked away at Isaac again...or Ivan.
They're tricking you.
"Kay, Ivan, will you come with me please?" asked Kraden, exiting the room. "We need to discuss things with the others."
The three of them left. I thought I heard Kay crying, but I wasn't sure. I was too busy staring at Ivan, wondering if I was really seeing an illusion.
They're fooling you... It must be a shape-shifter.
They change their shape to become another form...like Isaac.
"I know what they are...but I thought they were all evil. Why would one be working for Kraden?"
Because they can't be trusted, remember? You must kill that shape-shifter...to save yourself.
"To save myself?"
Because Isaac wouldn't save you. You need to do it yourself.
Remember, you can only trust me.
"Yes...that's right...but what if you're wrong?"
I'm not. Besides, it's only a dream.
"Yes...only a dream. It has to be."
I stood up off of my bed, not caring that I didn't have a shirt on, and walked over to my table where my axe was placed. I gripped the weapon on my hand, noticing that it certainly felt real enough. The way the light gleamed off of the blade was all too real. But it was still a dream. It had to be.
That's right. I wouldn't still be here if it wasn't a dream. Don't hesitate at all. Even if anybody tells you differently, you can't trust them. So, don't hesitate.
"No...I won't hesitate. It's only a dream."