You’re certainly in a pickle.
You can’t see a thing. You can’t move an inch.
You can, in fact, hear.
You can hear quite a bit. You can hear the blood rushing through your head; you can hear your heart pounding. You can hear your body as it tries its hardest to resist.
But you can’t hear anything else.
The world is gone.
You are helpless.
Yet you still have your mind.
She can’t control what you think.
She only controls the inky tendrils of pure shadow that envelope you; that separate you and the outside world; that hold you captive.
The shadow that can absorb all your power – which is funny, seeing as you thought you had a lot.
Really, you didn’t get the feeling of power from the girl at all. She felt like she barely had any.
And these shadows…
They don’t feel like you’d expect. They don’t feel entirely foreign. They don’t even feel remotely foreign.
They feel familiar.
They feel like home.
They feel like you.
And then it clicks.
You realize: this shadow which surrounds you; this darkness that entraps you; it’s not hers. It’s yours. It’s your own thoughts.
She’s not controlling your mind.
All she had to do was nudge it.
Your own thoughts, made solid, surround and trap you.
You don’t know how to fight it.
You have to think some other way. You have to break yourself from the mindset you have long ago trapped yourself in…
But you can’t.
So instead, you do what you always do.
Perhaps it won’t work forever. But it will work for now.
You don’t know what to do with the thoughts, so you push them away. It’s a tried and true method.
You fall to the ground. Sound deafens you; light blinds you; you stumble…
You close your eyes, and concentrate. The world rights itself, you stand–
You are face-to-face, eye-to-eye, with the girl – that Phoenix of Vulnerability; of Helplessness.
You are not helpless against your own thoughts.
Merely mostly helpless.
She was able to nudge them into physical form, but you were able to change them.
You don’t know why she does.
You just take her magic.
It’s not like last time. You don’t have that whispering voice with its words of impulse.
You don’t even have whispers of helplessness. No whispers telling you how there’s no solution to your problem; that everything is ruined, and there’s nothing to be done.
Instead, you hear whispers much more frightening.
They tell you that it’s not that there’s no solution to be found…
It’s that you’re trying to solve the wrong problem.
Those shadows that bound you had always bound you; you just didn’t know they were there.
Even though they’re physical forms have once more disappeared… Even though you are now physically free…
The voices whisper…
You’re still every bit as trapped.