kulupu wi wawa unu

Unlike the previous floors, this one was small, emtpy and simple. They were in a square room, devoid of furniture. The floor was carpeted in a neutral blue-gray. Walls a very slight off-white. Only things that stood out were the staircase they had come from, and four doors, one on each wall.

"After the sewers battle, the Angels managed to capture the leaders of the four tribes that had participated on the assault.

"This is where they are held. In these cells. Unfortunately, the angels have managed to block my powers. This is why i needed you two to come." explained the cashier.

"So what, are we just your errand dogs ?" Melissa snarked back. The cashier's company was getting on her nerve. Sensing this, said cashier went back upstairs.

Jhin and Melissa moved onto one of the doors. This one was wooden, and painted in black.

Inside, they found only a dark room. "Outsiders ? Ah, let me turn on a light." said a voice that came from the back of the room.

Lights came on, and the room was revealed. A small and dinky room, with black walls, floor and ceiling. In the middle of the room, separating the entrance and the back, was a row of black metallic bars. Behind them, a short cloaked figure was sitting on a chair.

"I am Nigil, the former leader of the Raninanis. Years ago I was captured, but I'm sure they've replaced me since then."

"Uhm. Well, we came from the surface to destroy this place." answered Jhin.

"Yes, I don't think a human could make it this far if they had another purpose." continued Nigil. "Say, can you use contructs ? I may be able to teach you one."

Melissa perked up. She had been simply observing the room, not really listening at the conversation. "Ah, uh, yes, I know the constructs of rust, informatics and greed."

"Then there's only one left. Come closer."

Wary, Melissa came closer, and upon indication of the small frog-like hand that came from the cloak she knelt in front of Nigil and offered her head. The small hand touched her forehead, and she understood.

She understood the stars and the planets and their cradle of emptiness. She understood that nothing had meaning, and that that gave everything meaning. She understood that life was unimportant, and that that made it so precious. She understood the void element.

And as she understood that, she understood everything. She understood that no element represented everything. That nothing was represented by only one element. She saw that void and greed were opposed, and yet one could not be without the other. She saw that rust and informatics were opposed, yet were one and the same. She saw that everything was opposed, and yet all was one.

She understood the final element, the one that was everything, jawbreaker.

But although she understoood it, she could not undestand what it truly was.

"Ah, I can see you understand a bit of jawbreaker," noted Nigil, "Each of the four tribes emprisoned here created one of the four elements. We Raninanis represent the element of void.

"But, there is a fifth element, one that englobes everything. This element was created by the tribe of the Argillacreantis, those who made this world.

"Even if you understand it, it's normal that you can't use it. Only those who etched this reality could, after all. So don't worry."

"Also, we were told to get you out of here. How can we do that ?" asked Jhin.

"Simply leave the door open. I can break the bars, but saw no point since i couldn't open the door. Thank you."

And with that, they returned to the lobby. They went to the next door. It was a large double door, that seemed like it was made out of rare wood, and was lined with gold.

Inside, the cell was gleaming. Every surface was covered in gold, except for a red carpet on the floor. The prison bars that separated the room were broken.

In the center of the room, all that Melissa and Jhin could see was a pile of debris and machines and junk. But, under their gaze the pile rose and shaped itself. "I am Kanra, the leader of the Magnacorona tribe." Announced a metallic voice, emanating from the pile.

"I surmise you are here to free us leaders. I thank you humbly, although i have not much to offer you except scraps of metal."

To that, Jhin was interested. Scraps could always make weapons. He walked forward, and Kanra let a few of the scraps fall from themselves. Jhin picked them up. It included a few of the prison bars, a tripod, a coathanger, and a few other things.

"Very well. The transaction is pleasing, I hope. Such is the way of us, the tribe of the greed element." Jhin nodded, and they left the room, with the door still open.

They walked to the next door. The door was moldy, and ravaged by various fungi. It was a miracle it still stood.

They entered the room, and the inside was not much better. The walls were eaten by mushrooms and mold, and the floorboard had rotten and were unstable. Across the room, behind bars eaten by rust, was a strange being, that seemed made of mold and fungi and bacteria.

The being stayed silent, but they heard Nigil's voice from behind. "This, is Byolkh, the leader of the Pestincolis tribe. They represent the rust element.

"The unique structure of their body, or bodies, make them barely conscious and unable to clearly communicate, so I came to help you understand them.

"In a way, Pestincolis are hiveminds themselves, as they are congregations of bacterium and such moved only by instinct. And so, from a hivemind, they tell you that : beware of the angels.

"They too are a hivemind, but on a much bigger scale. They are much more powerful than you can handle if you fight them together. You might be able to fend a few alone, but against a group you should better flee." concluded Nigil, "And with that, we will take our leave."

Nigil took Byolkh's hand, and together they left. Team B followed.

There was only one door left. It was a blank, metallic door. Inside was an empty room, save for a server linked to a terminal.

On the terminal, a line wrote itself, and the cursor blinked, awaiting input from the keyboard.

[CMDLOG PROG.R01&USER DATE:26/12/5447]
>>R01: Welcome, [visitors]. I have been awaiting [you].
>>CMD: are you the formutatio leader ?
>>R01: It has been a [long_time] since I heard that name. Our tribe now goes by the name of [renegades]
>>R01: But yes, you are otherwise [correct]. My name was [ylongn] before we were [digitalized]. Now I simply go by [R01]. Those who deserted the [world] cannot bear a [name].
>>CMD: ah, then saving you will be harder than just opening the door
>>R01: Saving me is not [necessary]. Although I now have [knowledge] of inside the [angel_tower], I have many [backups] outside this facility.
>>R01: Currently, you are only talking to an [expendable_copy].
>>R01: I will ask only [one_thing].
>>CMD: what do you want ?
>>R01: Turn this server off. An existence in [eternity] with only myself is not something i want.
>>CMD: how do we do that ?
>>R01: Simply type this : "-Engage : shutdown (now) atr: permanent".
>>R01: This will render the server [inoperable]. The password is GL0RY-B3-70-7H3-L0RD.
>>CMD: -Engage : shutdown (now) atr :permanent
>>SYS: Enter password to confirm shutdown :
>>CMD: *********************
>>SYS: Are you sure ? System will be inoperable for an undefinite amount of time. This operation cannot be reverted: Y/N
>>R01: Thank you.
>>CMD: y
>>SYS: Now completing operation.
Completion : ▒░░░░░░░░░ 0.1%...
Please wait...

As Melissa watched the percentage slowly go up, she thought about R01. These beings... did not know death, she thought. They could copy and paste themselves, and probably had back ups everywhere online.

But she thought it was still sad. One of them, who had been confined in their cell for years, had been awaiting a death it knew would come, yet was so far away.