…and then the music faded.
Simon was somewhere else. Somewhen else. The rules were slightly different here, he could feel it.
“Howdy,” said a voice from behind him, the southern drawl a smooth, slow roll.
Simon turned. He was no longer in the now. He was in the never was. What stood before him took the shape of a human. About six foot tall, slim build, blonde mohawk. He had bright blue eyes. His clothes were simple — a t-shirt covered by a hoodie, jeans, and boots.
“Who are you?”
Simon didn’t answer. His voice was both lost and he knew not to give his name at the same time.
The stranger wagged his finger and smiled knowingly.
“Good man,” he said. “My name is Verone. I’m the protector of the origin reality, Chaos King, and last True Mage. I’ve got a bone to pick with you, Simon Faust. You’re mucking about in places that aren’t meant to be mucked about in. What are you doing here, Simon?”
“I”m attempting to hold on the my immortality,” said Simon, his voice both a surprise and a condemnation. He had not known why he had told this stranger his darkest secret.
Verone laughed. “It’s always a petty thing. Immortality, love, eating a universe. You can move now.”
“Where are we?” asked Simon, stretching from the stiffness of immobility.
“It’s difficult to explain. We’re somewhere between here, there, and where.”
“That very cryptic,” said Simon. “What, exactly, are you? A god of some sort?”
“Nah,” said Verone with a boyish smile. “I’m just a human like you. I’ve been given a job to do. One of those jobs is making sure the Omniverse remains safe. What you’re doing here is tugging at the strings. You’ll make the whole thing unravel if you keep messing around. We can’t have that.”
“Who can’t have that?” asked Simon with a suspicious tone.
“Everything,” Verone said. “You could potentially eradicate all of it using the forces you’re using. Immortality can be achieved in other ways. I can show you.”
The stranger raised a finger in the air and made an intricate set of movements. Simon could feel the energy buzzing in front of him. His eyes twinkled a bit and that smile was entrancing. Simon felt what he could only describe as a swooning feeling.
“All done,” said Verone. “When you get back, you’ll still have your immortality…of sorts. You may even survive the encounter coming to you. Maybe not. The chaos can sometimes be fickle.”
The stranger turned and was about to walk off.
“Oh, yeah,” said Verone. “When this is said and done, you’ll be leaving Loreley alone. No more of the mind tricks with anyone else either. You need a time out.”
Simon tried to reach into his mind but nothing happened.
“Don’t feel too bad,” said Verone. “It wouldn’t have worked on me anyway.”
“What did you mean when you said I’ll still have an ‘immortality of sorts?’” asked Simon.
“Now, now…,” said Verone. “That would be telling. You’ve still got a few more stories left in you yet, Simon. Don’t waste this chance I’m giving and stop trying to fuck up the Omniverse, yeah?”
Simon moved towards him. “I demand to know what’s coming.”
Verone tapped him on the forehead and he no longer moved. He has frozen once again. The pain was immediate and agonizing.
“You demand nothing of me, mage. You have much to accomplish just yet and I’d hate for you to make a mistake that you can’t handle. That’s why I’m giving you another shot. Don’t waste it.”