Izzy tapped a finger against the tip of her nose. “You’re asking what to do with me in a helpful way, right?” she asked. “Not some thinly-veiled allegory for murder, right? I’m getting some mixed vibes.”
Lady Rhimeghast chuckled. “That’s a valid question, I suppose,” she said. “You need to be returned to your home world, but there appears to have been more of an exchange than just you and the person who took your place.”
“Would that be the catalyst that caused the shift between worlds? Something or someone else also moved between realities?” Sophia asked.
Lady Rhimeghast nodded. “There has been an interesting uptick in curious magics to the west of the summit. Perhaps if you were to investigate that a little further, you could find answers?”
Sophia opened her mouth to reply, only for Izzy to step forward and speak first.
“Yes! Definitely! We’ll fix that right up and get me home,” Izzy replied. “I’ve got a crew that’s undoubtedly missing me, and I was on a short vacation that was cut even shorter, so…Relaxation to get back to, I hope.”
Lady Rhimeghast smiled. “Hopefully it will be that simple,” she said. “I’ll send you just beyond our borders, to the edge of where we’ve noticed the curiosities. The rest is up to you, however. Do you think you’re up to the task?”
Izzy offered two thumbs up. “I dig the Masters of the Fancy Jewelry vibes this world has, but I’ve got a lot to get back to so I need to accomplish this.”
“I admire your tenacity,” Lady Rhimeghast said. She snapped her fingers, and the world melted around Izzy and Sophia.
A chill wind scattered snow around Sophia and Izzy. A winding mountain path stretched ahead, gently sloping downwards to a small, abandoned village. Remnants of huts barely stood, with rooftops mostly collapsed and windows long-shattered. Curls of smoke snaked their way skywards from a feast hall at the far edge of the village.
“If this were an adventure game, that looks like a quest marker if I’ve ever seen one,” Izzy said.
“You seem to be a natural at this,” Sophia replied.
“Something like that,” Izzy said. “There were, uh…We…Ah! I had simulations of worlds like this, but with less chance of death if you screwed up. Which admittedly is a thought that should have occurred to me sooner.”
Sophia placed a hand on Izzy’s shoulder. “We can do this,” Sophia said. “We’ll get you home.”
The path seemed to stretch away from them as they walked towards the source of the smoke, and the atmosphere grew colder with each step. Thought it was still daytime, the world seemed to grow darker as they approached the hall. The doors were open, one barely held in place by its iron hinges.
Sophia and Izzy entered slowly. A solitary figure stood by the far wall, facing away from them and shrouded in shadow.
“Captain Warpt,” they said, their voice heavily distorted. “How curious, but this is now how we were meant to meet…”