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Candidate: Z.A.C. Date: 29 March 23 CLE
Doors fling open as a green ball of slime whooshes past them and splats onto the floors of the Institute of War. For a moment, all is still. Then, the goo squeezes itself closer and tighter together. Within a few seconds, it has sprouted arms and legs. Its gelatinous feet press firmly against the marble floor; its torso bends and stretches into an upright position. The arms—now muscular and developed--swim through the blob up to the shoulder stubs. A head pops up from the slime, a neck shortly after. The figure reaches backwards, and then bends forwards to touch its feet. Rising up to its full height, the creation takes its first breath. Immediately, it is aware of the limestone and mold nestled in the cracks and corners of the hallway. It saunters over to the walls. They coldly cackle and creek in his presence. A wave of uncertainty washes over Zac. This place, although alien to him, feels so…disapproving of his presence, yet familiar at the same time. Why?
Finally approaching the doors of the Reflection Chamber, Zac can’t help but tremble in fear. He racks his brain for something, anything, that might comfort him, that might give him insight, but nothing particular comes to mind. Suddenly, the double doors open for him. It is time. He steps calmly into the darkness ahead.
Before Zac could make sense of his surroundings, a light voice intruded his thoughts. “Your memories…”
“Yes. What do you remember, creation of Zaun?”
“I…I am the result of a breakthrough in science and technology. I am the product of genius minds, of devoted hearts.”
The question, although plain, caught Zac off guard. “Well—uh—no.”
“You don’t remember anything from before?”
“From before when?”
“How fascinating…” Was there a hint of astonishment in the voice’s tone?
“Shh.” A robed hand shot out of the darkness. The index finger of it rested gently on Zac’s forehead.
Zac opened his mouth to speak, but something told him not to. So he examined the shadowed face that was now in front of him, the cowl that wrapped its fine silk around the human’s cranium. It was a summoner, he realized. And a male one at that.
The summoner allowed a crease of a smirk to spread across his thin lips. “I see…” He removed his finger from the still bewildered Zac.
“Was that it? Was that the test?”
Another smile. “Oh, no. Your test is merely beginning.” He pauses, then continues, “I didn’t think it was possible. But I understand now. These memories of which I speak of…They are still inside you.”
Zac froze. A long silence passed between summoner and champion. A million fantasies and questions passed through his head; he didn’t even notice the summoner had his back to him. “We are going to explore these memories, right now.”
“Do I have a choice?”
The summoner turned to face him. Electricity sparked from his hands. The last thing Zac heard as the figure plunged his palms into him was, “Unfortunately for you, no”. His vision quickly blotted out to white.
The first thing Zac noticed as he came to was the uncomfortable feeling of restraint. His arms felt compressed and heavy. He realized with a start that his legs however, felt as light as a feather. Upon glancing down, he was terrified at the fact that he had no legs!
He gasped for air, but nothing happened. He tried to move away, but couldn’t. It was then that he realized he was living someone else’s memory. But whose was it?
The figure went up to some of the League’s champions: Tryndamere, Twisted Fate, Ashe, and Cho’gath. Zac peered around in the memory, but he couldn’t find Shyvana, or Vayne. He began to wonder. How long ago is this memory?
Tryndamere was pointing to the right now. The figure must have asked him a question. All of a sudden, Zac was tingling with excitement. He was going to see Jax! Jax, the most impressive champion of the League, because he was only allowed to use a lamp post for a real weapon! How admirable!
Zac blinked. Wait. Those weren't my thoughts. Before he could make sense of things, the scene shifted. It was dark now. Eerie fog clung to the bushes and ground all around Summoner’s Rift. The mind of the memory was content, after all, he really did meet Jax and get to talk to him. After a day of hanging out with the League’s Champions, it was nice to sit under the stars of the living, breathing Rift.
Suddenly, there was a flash of blue. It was so fast Zac thought he had imagined it. Then he saw the red eyes peering out of the brush. Fear engulfed him as he watched a bloodthirsty wolf tear into the figure in the memory. Blood splattered everywhere; when Zac looked down he could see fountains of blood gushing to the ground.
Zac couldn’t bear to watch the poor champion-to-be get slaughtered. Stop, he yelled out. Stop this! I can’t watch anymore!
As if on command, the scene shifted. There was a memorial service for the fallen champion. Champions stood teary eyed. Another scene. A crazy scientist getting dragged away, screaming, “I can fix him! I can bring him back to life! It doesn’t have to be this way!” Yet another memory passed by Zac’s eyes. A shadowed figure, arms crossed, staring down at a cowering, quivering scientist. A menacing threat was obviously spoken, for the scientist nodded his head rapidly, then scampered off to his lab.
More visions. The scientist from before was ragged, his clothes torn and dirty. He slumped onto the lab station, burying his face in his arms. “I-I can’t do it…” In a fit of rage, he thrashed his arms to the side. Flasks shattered and test tubes crashed to the ground. The memory focused on one as it fell. It had, “DNA SAMPLE. HANDLE WITH CARE” written on it sloppily.
Hundreds more memories passed through his eyes, but Zac couldn’t concentrate on any of them. At last, they all subsided, except for one, which rose above the rest. It was the scientist again. He had collapsed to the ground, although not in pain. He was laughing. Smiling. He brought a flask to his face, gleaming with satisfaction. “I’ve done it! Hahahaha! Yes…I’ve brought Urf back to life! But not as a wimpy fighter. No. He is superior! He is…the Ultimate Weapon of destruction!”
Zac’s mind began to race. Something was terribly wrong. He willed the memory to bring him closer to the flask, to see what was inside it. There, to Zac’s anguish, was green goo. It glowed and bounced around in the flask. It was him, inside that very flask! A solution, created from a dead champion and a withered scientist!
A terrible pain engulfed Zac. He could no longer tolerate the memories. He shut his eyes tightly, held his head in his hands, and willed the visions to stop.
After what seemed like an eternity, Zac opened his eyes to the Reflection Chamber, with the awe-struck Summoner gaping at him. “So it’s true then. You are Urf.”
Zac dropped his hands, which then curled into fists. He could hardly keep his composure. “I’m not Urf! I don’t remember any of that! And I wouldn’t have if it wasn’t for you and your summoner mind tricks!” His voice was shaky.
The summoner observed him, slunk around him. Delicately, he breathed the last words of the test to Zac. “How does it feel, having your mind exposed before you?”
Zac let the sadness of what he'd seen finally take over. He sunk to the ground, weeping. “I’m a monster…A monster.”
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