First Day
rating: +9+x

I woke up, which was odd because I couldn't remember going to sleep. I felt cool air blowing against my skin, heard quiet whispers, smelled fresh paper. I could even taste the clean, fresh air. I had never realized that air had a taste, but here it was.

I opened my eyes.

The light blinded me. I blinked a few times, trying desperately to readjust to the brightness. Once my vision cleared, I took in my surroundings. I was standing in a massive marble hall. The ceiling was easily fifty feet above me, covered in beautiful murals, reminding me a bit of the Sistine Chapel. The hall was held up by enormous marble columns, each engraved to look like a tree. Every column had a brass snake circled around it, winding all the way up to the top, and each snake's mouth held a brightly blazing torch.

Directly in front of me lay a gigantic wooden door bearing a brass seal in the center. It almost looked to me like two people holding up a rug, no, a scroll. I looked behind myself, seeing that the hall continued behind me as far as I could see. Feeling a bit queasy, and deciding that the only way was forward, I pushed on the door.

It opened easily and immediately for me, and I heard a soft, cool voice speak in my head:

"Welcome to the Library, wanderer."

I stepped inside. To call it a room would be an understatement. As far as I could see, this library had more floor space than a city block. Bookshelves, crammed full of books of all sizes and colors stretched high up to the ceiling, lining my path forward. I grabbed a yellow volume off the shelf closest to me. The title was written in a foreign language, text that looked like many concentric rings of various patterns. Putting back the book and continuing on, I found myself in a wide, open space, the walls curving gently. I couldn't help but smile in wonder at the majesty of this space, the scale and grandeur overwhelming me. I saw multiple other paths, identical to the one I had taken. A few other people browsing the shelves, or talking with others. One person, off in the distance, was climbing a shelf. The carpet was sewn with intricate designs, and the ceiling was covered in paintings just as beautiful as the ones in the hall I had come through.

Directly before me lay a series of desks, but what was truly amazing was what lay behind them. The entire wall on that side of the Library was glass, looking out into nothingness. In the center of that nothingness lay a tree of gigantic proportions, and beyond the tree, another semicircular building, connected to the one I was in, forming a ring. As I got closer, I noticed a massive snake slowly circling the tree, climbing smoothly.

When I reached the desk, I realized with a start that the yellow-robed figure sitting behind it had no eyes. In fact, I got the sense that this being was not completely human. However, despite its apparent blindness, it spoke when I reached it, with a soothing tone:

"Can I help you?"

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