The Return of Winifred

By Jareth

Chapter thirty-nine: Underneath the sky so blue

“Uh… where am I?” Foxglove thought, slowly waking up. She opened her eyes, only to find herself in an unfamiliar location. She was in the middle of a serene, seemingly endless field. Grass stretched out as far as the eye could see in every single direction. Somewhere off in the distance, a beautiful melody could be heard playing. Foxglove instantly recognized it. It was the same melody she had unconsciously begun to hum outside of Nimnul’s backup laboratory. “Where am I?” Foxglove thought, standing up, still clutching her scepter. “What is this place?”

It was then, that she suddenly became aware of a second presence, behind her. Foxglove whirled around, only to see a lone tree, not to far off in the distance. It was unlike any type of tree she had ever seen before. Its leaves were blue and star-shaped, it’s trunk unusually thin considering it’s extremely broad canopy. Beneath the tree, stood a table. It was a small, square table, covered in a checkered picnic cloth. Around the table, were two seats. One was empty, pushed out invitingly, as if waiting for an occupant. In the other, sat a mouse. Not a normal mouse however. This mouse stood at an impressive four feet tall. He had grayish brown fur on his back with a hint of purple, a small patch of fur brushed forwards on top of his head, and long patch of purplish white fur, leading from the top of his snout, down to his rump. He sat casually, one leg crossed over the other; his tail hanging out the back of the chair, a teacup in his hand. He smiled invitingly at Foxglove, taking a sip of his tea. Strangely enough, it looked as if he had been waiting for her.

Without thinking, Foxglove began to make her way over to the tree. As soon as she reached it, she sat down in the empty chair, waiting for the mouse to finish his tea.

After taking his final sip, the mouse moved the cup away from his mouth, and threw it over his shoulder. Immediately, the white cup transformed into an odd looking, tailless, white bird.

Foxglove watched in astonishment as the odd bird flew away.

Before she could say a word, the mouse spoke. He spoke in a voice much like Darien’s, only his seemed much more tranquil and soothing. “Welcome home, Zoniha.”

Foxglove stared, not quite sure what to say. “…Who?”

The mouse smiled gently.

“Where am I?” Foxglove asked, looking around, admiring the serene blue sky.

“The dominion of light.” The mouse answered, shifting around slightly in his chair. “Or as you used to call it, ‘The Zoniha Zone’” He smiled, as if recalling a fond memory. “It’s nice to have you back.”

Foxglove was now thoroughly confused. “What do you mean?” she asked, confusion filling her voice. “Who are you?”

The mouse smiled. “No memory? I’m not surprised. After all, it’s been what now; at least a hundred million lives?”

“Lives?” Foxglove asked, now even more confused. “I don’t understand, I—”

“Zoniha.” The mouse said, standing up. “You are Zoniha, the purifying light.”

“…” Foxglove still had no Idea what this mouse was talking about.

“Allow me to explain.” The mouse said understandingly. “Every soul in the universe needs two types of energy to exist; good and evil, or positive and negative, if you will. Now, the immense energy created by the nonillions and nonillions of souls in the universe, must manifest it’s self, if it is to exist at all. You, Zoniha, are the manifestation of all positive energy in the universe.”

“… What?” Foxglove asked, now even more confused. “No, I’m not, I’m just a bat.”

“I suppose all bats wear white robes, and posses feathery wings then?” He asked half jokingly.

“What?” Foxglove asked, “feathery wings and…” She felt her back, only to notice her large feathery wings for the first time. She then looked at her arm, only to notice that her fur was white. It also occurred to her, that she now possessed arms as well. “AAAH!” She screamed, standing up. “WHAT HAPPENED TO MY BODY?!!?!”

The mouse sat down, laughing. “You just noticed?” He said in-between laughs.

“Please, this isn’t funny!” Foxglove said in an upset tone. “What happened?! Why am I like this?!”

“That’s the way you’ve always looked, Zoniha.” The mouse responded.

“No,” Foxglove protested, now beginning to become frustrated. “I’m not a manistation!—”

“Manifestation.” The mouse corrected.

“Whatever; I’m not that!” Foxglove continued. “I’m just Foxglove; a bat!”

“I know who you are.” The mouse said reassuringly, “But I also know who you ARE.”

Foxglove was now about as puzzled as mentally possible.

“Sit down, and I’ll explain.” Said the mouse.

Desperate for answers, Foxglove did as she was told, staring intently into the mouse’s eyes. They were turquoise, like the ocean after a fierce storm.

“Now then,” The mouse began, “Since creation, you, Zoniha, the purifying light; and the manifestation of all negative energy in the universe, Chaos, the destroyer; have lived in your own respective realms, which I had created for you, all seven hundred quadrillion years ago. The two realms exist on a sub special plane, unreachable by any means. Both of you stayed put in your own respective realms, and for a time, it was good… until about a hundred million years ago, when Chaos, who had grown bored of her realm of darkness, decided to leave, and express herself amongst the stars; Mainly, by doing as her name suggests, and causing random destruction. And by destruction, I mean interstellar vandalism; destroying anything from small asteroids, to entire star systems. Within a mere two hundred years, she became known as ‘the scourge of the universe.’”

“She?” Foxglove thought to herself. “Chaos was a female? And what did he mean by “I had created? ” Was this mouse…

“Of course,” the mouse continued, “she had to be stopped, and I was unable to do it. After all, neutral plus negative yields more negative. Countless armies of countless civilizations attempted to defeat Chaos, but in vein. The only being capable of handling Chaos, was you Zoniha, you. Knowing the fate of the universe was at stake, I allowed you to leave your realm, to try and stop Chaos by locking her back into her own.
Unfortunately, something I did not foresee occurred. Instead of sealing Chaos off in her own realm, you two became locked in a fierce, five day long battle. At its climax, the both of you ended up matching beams, as you did in your most recent one. However, while the two of you were technically equal, you possessed a personality trait that Chaos did not; and that trait was self-doubt. Because of your doubt in your own abilities, Chaos’s beam overtook you, and incinerated you, just as you incinerated her today.”

“Today!?” Foxglove exclaimed, shock filling her face. “You mean—”

“Upon your death, without positive energy to balance herself out, Chaos disappeared into darkness. But because she was the last one standing, evil began to became the general feeling of the inhabitants of the universe; for you see, while Chaos may have disappeared, her influence was the last one felt, and remained as strong as if she were still present. Wars erupted across the cosmos; entire civilizations began to become consumed and destroyed by their own greed and evil… Fortunately however, while a soul can be weakened, it cannot be ever destroyed. You were reincarnated as a Chihirian, on the planet Duuma. You had no knowledge of your past life, nor did you have any of you strength. You did however, still posses the power to purify whatever you touched, be it a toxin, or a soul.
After your death of fifty thousand years as a Chihirian, you were again reincarnated, as a Seshomarin, on the planet Jarakis. Over the eons, you have been reincarnated many many times, each time regaining a little more of you strength.”

“But—” Foxglove interrupted, but the mouse cut her off.

“Please, let me finish. Now then,” he said kindly, not seeming the least bit perturbed, “While I watched you slowly regain power from afar, I still was unsure what happened to Chaos. I found out quite recently however, when she appeared as a human, on a small planet called Earth. Apparently, Chaos had also been passing through several reincarnations as well; but because of the evil energy in the universe, she blended right in, and was completely undetectable, like a sky blue balloon drifting in the blue sky. However, that ‘sky blue balloon’ became a black one, when for reasons currently unknown to me, her power skyrocketed from one one-trillionth its original strength, to one-eighth. Luckily, by sheer coincidence, you happened to be on Earth as well, living out your hundred millionth reincarnation, as a Bat.
When you finally went to face Chaos, her negative energy re-ignited your positive, restoring it’s full power. Again, you fought; but this time, instated of despair driving you to defeat, love drove you to victory! Not only that, but you’ve finally finished regaining power. You’re fit once again, to retake your realm. Even better still, is the fact that because the universe will now go from negative to positive, rather than neutral to negative as with Chaos, you will be able to exist.
So in essence, to answer your question of ‘who am I,’ and ‘where are you’: You are Zoniha, the purifying light, and this is your realm.” The mouse smiled kindly at Foxglove. “Any questions?”

Foxglove was stunned. It was too much to take in at once.
She was a goddess? Winifred was really the devil? It was weird, and confusing, but at the same time, it also made a strange kind of sense. It explained why she sometimes was able to summon incredible strength. It explained why Winifred had been so needlessly evil. It explained why Winifred’s ‘magic sparks’ had never had the same painful effects on her that they had on everyone else. It explained why Winifred’s “W” insignias disappeared whenever she touched them.
It even explained larger things, such as why most religions had a ruler of “hell”, a ruler of everything, but no ruler of “heaven”; and why there was so much needless evil in the world. Foxglove didn’t know what to say. She stared at the mouse, a look of aw on her face. There was one question she had left. “You said that you created this realm. Are you…” She trailed off, unsure if using the wrong name would offend him.

“God?” The mouse asked, a gentle smile forming on his face. “Allah? Adonai? The Creator? The Eternal one? Yes, I am those things.”

Strangely enough, Foxglove found herself remaining completely calm. “…Why are you a mouse?” She asked.

“I’m not a mouse.”

“I mean, why do you look like one?” Foxglove corrected.

The mouse smiled. “Do I? Hmm… I let you figure that one out on your own.” He said playfully. “After all, you’ll have all the time in the universe to think about it.”

“What do you mean?” Foxglove asked, a touch of concern in her voice.

“Well, you’re immortal aren’t you?” He said as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.

“You mean…” Foxglove began, dread filling her voice. “…I’m stuck like this; In this body?!”

“Of course.” The mouse answered. “Now that you’ve regained your full power, you can reside here once more. Don’t worry about becoming bored; this realm can become anything you want it to be.”

Seemingly unlimited power, a plane of reality that she was free to modify; Foxglove should have been the happiest being in the universe, but instead, she seemed sad. “…Can I bring other people here?” she asked gingerly.

“…No.” Answered the mouse. “Only beings of pure energy can exist here. You are pure good, but every other creature is a balance between the two. I’m sorry.”

“…But, if that’s true, than how can you be here?” Foxglove asked in protest.

“I’m God, I can do whatever I want.” The mouse said half jokingly.

“Oh…” Foxglove said, her head hanging. “Okay…” A tear began to form on the side of one of her soft glowing eyes.

“Is something wrong?” The mouse asked sympathetically.

“It’s just… Dale,” She said, beginning to cry. “I’ll *sniff never be able-le to *hic see him again-n *sniff.

Suddenly, the mouse was by Foxglove’s side; his comforting hand on her shoulder. He looked off into the sky. “What good is a deity, if she’s not happy.” He said sympathetically.

“It’s not-ot *hic that I don’t want to help-elp *sniff* you, it’s just no-ow *sniff, I’ll never be able-le *hic to be with Da-ale or any of my friend-ends *sniff again-n *hic.

Suddenly, Foxglove felt the mouse’s hand under her chin, as he turned her head up to look at her. “…If I could return you to you bat body again, would you want me to?”

“Can *sniff* you?” Foxglove asked hopefully, he tears beginning to reside.

“I can.” Answered the mouse. “But If I do, you’re power will be reduced to it’s previous level, and you will not be able to return to this place until your life on earth has ended.” He paused, before asking. “Would you like me to?”

“…What will happen to the universe if I do?” Foxglove asked timidly, not sure if she wanted an answer.

The mouse smiled. “Oh don’t you worry. The universe will be fine. It’s you I’m worried about.”

“Than yes.” Foxglove answered firmly. “I want you to.”

“As you wish.” The mouse said warmingly, taking his hand off of her shoulder, turning, and beginning to walk away. “In a few moments, you will return to your body.”

“You’re not upset, are you?” Foxglove asked, afraid she had offended him.

“Do I look upset?” The mouse asked, turning his head over his should, not a hint of sorrow on his face.

“Will I remember any of this?” Foxglove asked, trying to get in any last minute questions she might have.

“Why wouldn’t you?” The mouse responded.

Suddenly, something occurred to Foxglove. “Um…” She began. “Wini— err, Chaos… She’s gone… right?”

The mouse stopped. “…A soul cannot be destroyed.” He said slowly. “In several eons, Chaos will return, and your battle will resume…” He then turned around. “But don’t let that stop you from enjoying yourself.” He said jokingly.

“Yeah, heh heh. Foxglove said in a forced laugh. Suddenly, A final question dawned on her. The question that almost anyone would ask if they were in God’s presence. “What’s the meaning of life!?” She called to the mouse, as he walked further and further away from her.

“There technically is none!” The mouse called. “You see…” But that was that was the last Foxglove heard, as the world around her began to grow whiter and whiter, the melody fading away, until finally… The world around her had disappeared, leaving her in a white void.

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