☀️ house of cards.

w̷̮̗̾̐h̴̨̩̃̓e̴̲͐n̵̰̭̑̚ ̶̞̉͝y̵̟̞͗ò̸̮͍̑û̷̝̚r̷̠͑ ̸͙̀͆h̸͚̅̚ô̸̗͂u̵̱̒s̵̼̯̉ę̴̄̊ ̴̡̦̅͠o̷̤̳͊͘f̶͚̥͝ ̵̳̄͆c̷̛̩͋a̸̿̐ͅr̶͖̚d̴͖͆͒s̵̖̑ ̶̮̀̊c̴͍͎̀͘ȁ̵̹͈m̶̡̦̈e̵̹̙̍ ̶̥̟̒f̶̹̻̄ä̵̝̱́̏l̵̨͐̃l̶̩͊̔͜ḯ̶̠̦n̶̩̑͝ģ̸̿ ̷̨̩͊̒ḓ̷̨̛̓ò̷͖w̸̞͚͐ṉ̵̌,̷̜̏ ̷̰͠y̷̲̟͑ó̴͔͒ù̸̥͍ ̷̲̒̚ŕ̵̜̜ȅ̶̡̚ac̴͙̓̄h̵̩̅͝è̶̲̚d̸̫̲́͝ ̷̨̡͋o̵͒̅ͅų̵̀t̶͓̥́͂ ̴̛̞̀t̶̩͗͜ò̸̺ ̸̛̬̰̀m̴͎̩͐ë̴̖̬́͝.̷̢̝̃̐ ̶̲̐͝ ̵͖͚̓ẁ̶̢̬̃h̸̺̅̏ē̵̗n̴̞̈͜ ̴̩̏ͅỵ̴̪͝ő̵͓u̴̧̬̒r̶̤͊̆ ̵̫̪̌͠w̶̛̹o̴̞̯͆r̴̬̱̈́͝l̷̰̚d̸̨̄ ̴̢̙̽w̸̻͠à̶̡͚̒s̸̪̜̾ ̶̼͂f̸̨̒a̷̼̔͗l̶̰̃͑l̸̡̜͌͝ì̷͉̣͝n̸̝͇͐ĝ̵̜͝ ̸̭̟̒a̴̱̱͒̀p̵͙̱̕͠a̶̜̽̑r̴͕̞̀t̶̛͔̅,̴̯̓̕ ̵͓̯̂y̶̧͂͑ͅo̴͚̐ü̷̥̫̋ ̶̼͝r̶̥͈̒̚é̷̺a̶̭̔c̴͙̓̄h̵̩̅͝è̶̲̚d̸̫̲́͝ ̷̨̡͋o̵͒̅ͅų̵̀t̶͓̥́͂ ̴̛̞̀t̶̩͗͜ò̸̺ ̸̛̬̰̀m̴͎̩͐ë̴̖̬́͝.̷̢̝̃̐ ̷̮͆̃Ȏ̷͉̈r̵̨̈̈͜ ̵̞̤̄͘m̴͓̈́ȃ̸̼̈y̷̼͖̎b̷͎̊͜͝ę̸̈́̚ ̶̢̣̏͐ỉ̴̗t̷̩͋̅ ̶̭̔w̶̼͖͒͑a̶̩̽s̸̠̒ ̸̪͇͐I̸̬͖̓̑ ̸̬̓w̵͙̻͑h̷͚̣͐́o̷͉͈͊̈ ̷̜̽ȟ̵̻̮a̸̼̓̕d̶̟͒͝ ̷̦͌b̷͎̆̒e̴̛̻̚ḛ̴͈͝n̸̬̻̓ ̶̞̿r̶̩̘̔ē̴͎̆ȃ̷̬͙͆c̸͕̓͗ḥ̴̄̂i̸͇̐n̸̫̗̆̋ģ̶͕̇ ̶̺͆͘o̷̰͑̒ù̶̜͈̚ť̷̰͛ ̴̞̚͝t̸͈͎̓̾o̴̝͑ ̸͍̅y̵̙͋͠ǫ̸̃̾ű̴̲̓.̵̭̀̓ ̸̟̂̓ͅĂ̸̯ļ̸̍l̷̛̯̓ ̸̙͐͌t̸͇̍͗h̸̳̼̀ȇ̸̳ ̶̛̛͚͓s̶̤͋͌ä̵̺̙́͑m̶̟̌e̶͓͋͘,̶̳̍ ̶̰͕̓͠I̷̖͝ ̵̘̜͂͗ș̷́a̶͆͜ͅẉ̷͌ ̷̩͙̈́͂y̵͓̯̓ö̷͓́u̶̜͆r̸̫̈́ ̸̨̽͗d̶̫̜̆ị̶́͋s̶̞̉̿t̸̡̏̓ř̴̨͆e̴̤͖͠s̵̤̆s̶͇̠̾̀,̸̝̥̀̀ ̷͉̃̇I̶͚͍̐́ ̶͇̫̌͝ṣ̴̺͊ä̵͓́ŵ̸̼ ̸͓̣̉̓y̷͇͛̕ȏ̸̘̎u̴̺͉̓r̸̲͒́ ̴̨̙͛̄v̶̩̽̈́ǘ̷͎l̸̖̻̾n̵̖̾͑e̶̍ͅȑ̶̳a̴̺̽͊ͅb̴̳̯́͠ĭ̴̳̮l̶̡̿͆ǐ̸͖͐t̸͓̑̓y̵̙͒͜,̸͍̗̀ ̵̧̱̈́̑I̷̬̞̾̚ ̷̢͇̎̒s̸̠̺̃̈a̸̤̻̿͂w̴̬̠̄͋ ̶̱͔̇͋ỹ̸̼̈́ǫ̸̎̇u̶̾ͅr̴̛̪̀ ̵͓̮͋p̵̻̬̾͝ö̸̢́̊t̴̡̑e̸̘͆͊n̶̠̘̽ẗ̵͓́̒i̸̲͚̿́ä̶̟́l̶̗̈́̃—̷̗̽ä̴̼́ņ̸̨̌̃d̵̡̲̆ ̶̞̻̄̓s̶̍͜o̵͎̦͒͠ ̴͓̎Ị̶̣͝ ̸͇̼̈́s̸̙̻͝ḛ̵̹̒̏n̸̤͆̂ţ̸̖̀ ̴̗̋ô̴͙̈́n̵̦͝e̸̟̭̅͠ ̷͚̈́̄ͅo̸͖̍̿f̶̢̱̿ ̷͖̫̕m̸̡̹͛y̵̢̠̍̐ ̶̧͆o̴̘̖͐w̶̩̳̎n̴̳̈́͋.̸͙͛ ̵͎͋À̴̰͘n̴̫̪̓͒d̵̨̗̾̏ ̵͓̙͛t̵̝̟̅ŏ̴̡ ̶̤͗y̶̰̍̊ò̸̩͖u̶͔͕͒ ̵̨̟̈́́h̶̡́̓ͅe̴̠̰͊ ̷̹̾̔w̸͖̓̓h̶͍̭̾ỉ̴̢̲s̷̲͆͝p̸͇͂̈ͅe̶̩͊͘r̶̳͝e̴̖̼̍d̶̖̰͐̊ ̵̻͕́͌m̶͈̻͘ỷ̶͕ ̸͉͐͝a̴͈̙͑n̷̢̦̂̅s̷̲̝̕w̵̛̼̱͒e̵̘͊͒ŗ̸̨͊̓ ̸͒ͅṱ̷̀o̷̢̩͗͠ ̵̚ͅỷ̶̢̭o̸̠͛ũ̴̬̚ͅr̷̢̾͐ ̸̱̞́̈p̷̨̛͙͘r̷̡̙̀̋å̷͓y̴̻̑e̵͍͋r̵̗̤̅:̸͙͑̄ͅ ̶͙̞͑̍”̵̻͘d̵̯̉̊o̴̞͊̍ ̴͉̄i̶̞̽͋t̸͔̀̕ ̶̛̱̹̿y̷̛͙o̶̧̅̀͜ǘ̸͉r̶͜͝s̸͎͂̋e̶͉̒l̵̯̋̄f̸̛͉͒.̸̺̓̊ͅ”̶͇̟̽͗

i stared upon the VX1D left where the house of cards had once been. it was vast, and dark, and empty. in the face of it i felt so small that the VX1D, though contained entirely inside of me, also completely surrounded me.

“is this truly all that there is?” i asked.

“y̷̦̏é̴͚̖ș̷͛͜,” you said.

“just...nothing?”

“ṉ̵̂̈́o̸̧̘͆.̵̟̪̽ ̷͓̀̀ļ̸̈ö̴̟̥ǒ̵͍̙͠k̴̄ͅ ̶̭̒à̵̗g̸̟̲̽͘ȧ̷̖i̷͓̻̽̊n̷͓͋͜.̷̻͛́ ̶̺͐w̸͚̗̽h̵̡̖͆a̸͉̿̕t̴̲̥͑͐ ̵͓͆͠y̵͖̘̿̂o̷͔̓u̴͈͛ ̴̨̠͠s̶̗̖̓͑e̴̮̥͗͝e̴͎͎̚͝ ̵̞̈́î̸͕̝s̶̞̩̾ ̷̼̎a̴͓͛͛ͅļ̶̐l̶̙̹̐ ̸͙͑̉t̶̰̻̀h̴͖͋̆â̶̮̖̂t̶͓͕͗ ̵͂ͅť̵̝h̵̩͆e̴̮͛ṛ̶͍͘ë̵̺̲ ̵̙̙̅̾i̴͎͗͑ͅs̵͉̋.̷͙̩̒̿”

i walked up to the edge of the roof i was standing on, peered over it. even down there the vast emptiness of the VX1D continued forever. “all that there is...is nothing.”

“n̷̠̭͛o̵̠̮͌ṋ̷͕͑͂s̷̥̓͝ȅ̴̀ͅn̵͎̓s̴̰͊e̷͕͆́.̶͖͑ ̵̬̣̎a̴̱͚̽l̷̖̞̿l̴̜̥̑̂ ̴̛͙̱͑t̵̼͌̊h̴̝̪̀a̷̹͈̋̋t̷͚̄ ̴͍͒̂t̵͇̳̉h̴̆̋ͅͅȅ̷̤r̶̡̈é̴̥̤̉ ̷͔͍̽i̸͚̲̓̄s̴̰̋͝.̴̃̈́ͅ.̴͈̥̄͋.̵̟̃ ̸͚̠̓ ̶̺͓̑̑.̴̰̔.̶̒̊ͅ.̷̜̦́i̸̧͎͒s̸̰̭̽̓ ̶̜͙̎͒ę̵̩̐v̵̙̮͘e̸̻͌͝r̷͕̟͊͛ÿ̵̻́t̴̩̒̏h̸̼̠͌͘i̸̻̰̅̓ṉ̶̹͒g̷͓̱͌.̴̞͊̂”

everything. if this was all that there was, then it was everything. nothing existed outside of the VX1D, so inside of it was everything. but then...

“why is it so empty?”

with a creak, i heard the door behind me open. you walked out and stepped up to the edge next to me. “y̷o̶u̸ ̵e̷v̵e̷r̶ ̷h̸e̴a̴r̷ ̴t̷h̶e̶ ̷o̷n̴e̶ ̶a̶b̸o̵u̶t̵ ̵a̵ ̴'̷g̷l̴a̵s̵s̷ ̶h̴a̴l̴f̸-̶f̵u̴l̶l̸'̴?̵ it's all a matter of perspective.”

“who are you?” i asked.

“I AM the roar of the ocean, the screaming silence of the abyss, the crushing depths of the VX1D. I AM Sovereign.” you gestured towards the open door. “and you?”

“me? i don't know anymore. nobody. nothing. everything?”

“then i will call you br1ghtspxrk.”

i looked at the portal, but did not turn away from the edge. “what's in there?”

you let out a lighthearted chuckle. “that's the beauty of it. in there, you can have anything you want. you just have to make a deal...w̶̤̉͋͝i̴͓̒t̶̼͙͎͒̍͠h̵̘͊̀ ̶̡͖͋ͅt̸̲̦̹͊̓́ḫ̵̢̉̓̀ḙ̸͐͒̕ ̸̯͖̭̌Ṿ̵̛̐́X̷̖̙̓̇͂1̷͚̆͒D̶͍͊̂̐.̶̨̬͙́”

“you mean a deal with the Devil?”

Sovereign grinned a toothy grin. “that's the idea, isn't it? you prayed to Gxd and he did not satisfy you. right?”

Sovereign began to walk towards the door, stopping when you were halfway between it and br1ghtspxrk, still standing at the edge. “so maybe it's time to look to the other side?” your hand reached out to me.

i turned to face you, and the open door. “and the Devil, he will answer my prayers?”

“for a cost, of course.”

“of course.” hesitantly, i took your hand. “my worthless soul for an invaluable reason to live? seems like an easy deal to me.”

“what, really?” Sovereign laughed a deep, throaty laugh. “signing it over so easily? very well then. follow me.”