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kulupu wi wawa unu

>>R25: hey
>>R25: u 2 ok ?
>>MAL: not really no
>>MAL: we did just let a city get destroyed
>>R25: you didn't do it, ubu did
>>MAL: same thing
>>MAL: we let it get destroyed
>>R25: it wasn't your fault
>>R25: you did your best
>>MAL: they all died still
>>R25: i know how it is
>>R25: i have... experiences w destruction of civilizations
>>MAL: well whatever, well get better, blah blah blah
>>MAL: maybe
>>MAL: i imagine you didn't message us just for your condolences though
>>R25: right yes
>>R25: i uhh
>>R25: i think i found enner
>>MAL: oh ?
>>R25: i don't want lape to know though
>>MAL: why ? did you find their corpse or something ?
>>R25: no i think theyre alive
>>R25: but lape wouldn't take well to it
>>R25: to them, finding enner is the last thing keeping them alive
>>R25: and i don't think itd be good for them to see that go
>>MAL: right.
>>MAL: so where are they ?
>>R25: on malutelo
>>R25: once every 2 weeks they come back to tatelo for like groceries
>>R25: if you go now w the subway you can get there in time
>>MAL: we'll get going then
>>R25: oh and
>>R25: tell them we said hello
>>MAL: yeah

The subway trip took about five days. The station was the terminus, near Tatelo. They walked the rest of the way to the village. They decided to go to the general store. They asked the shopkeep if there was a client that didn't live in the village but came every few weeks. The shopkeep simply pointed behind them, to an old figure, with long black hair, in a tall cloak. The figure agreed to let them follow, paid for their items, then left, hunched, helped by a long stick.

They walked slowly. The figure hadn't presented themselves. They were old, probably 80 or 90 years old. They walked in front, and Jhin and Melissa walked a few steps behind. They were going to the east, through the forest that covered most of Malutelo. From time to time, a small black spot jumped from the hair or the cloak of the figure, and went into the forest. And from time to time, a black spot came back, holding an herb or a leaf, and put it in the figure's basket.

After a bit less than an hour of walking, they reached a small house, lost in a clearing. The house was built in wood, and painted in white, red, and green. Around it, overgrown grass covered the lawn, save for some tidy crops. The sky was turning dark, and long orange streaks were lighting up in the sky. The figure invited them in.

The inside was... homely. On the carved wooden beams, herbs and dried meat and fish were hung. A small lounge, with wooden seats covered in knit blankets invited. An old, small kitchen lit by a yellowing flame.

A green door, closed, invited the mysterious temptation of other rooms.

The figure invited them to take a seat. They began preparing a soup in a big pot, with some of the vegetables they grew and seasoned with herbs from the trip back. Melissa began the conversation. "Who are you ?

"I am someone who no longer wants to make a mark," the old figure answered, with a tired voice. "Long ago, I pushed away the people who cared about me, so now I bear that price.
-Are you Enner ?
-I am no longer worthy of being called that. And you ? Who are you ?
-We are... the heroes of the mall. If that rings a bell.
-No, not really. I've stopped keeping up with wars and heroes a long time ago.
-Its from more than two hundred years ago.
-Still nothing.

Melissa explained. "The angels, in an attempt to defang humanity, created towers in the form of malls which would remove humanity. We explored one of these towers, and with the help of the descendant of the Argillacreantis, we destroyed a large part of the angels. We were then sealed away up until a few months ago."

"And now ?"

And now. The unspoken question. Jhin tried to answer. "We... want to protect." Did they ?

"To protect what ?"

These questions stung. Hard. "The people. The sun and Ubu want to either wipe out humanity or enslave it.
-I see. But what did you do ?

Destroyed a city. Destroyed a people. Destroyed another city. Destroyed an island.

"We destroyed." Melissa collapsed on the table, her tears running silently. With a croaked voice, and a throat so pinched it hurt. "We only destroyed.
-We all do.
-We destroyed so much. An entire continent, gone. Cities. People. Lives.
-I did the same.

"A long time ago, I destroyed all of humanity. I thought of a greater goal, of something ideal. Of peace. Friends tried to stop me, to make me go back. But I didn't listen. I was determined. I gave everything to that goal. I gave my body, my soul. " Enner stopped cutting the eggplant they were holding, and looked behind at Jhin and Melissa.

"Do you want to see X ?"

X. They agreed. Enner told them to go see in the other room. As they got closer, a chatter. From inside. Like garbled speech from a broken TV. Like many voices all switching. Ununderstandable noise, only recognized as a voice but undecipherable. They opened the door.

The room within was dark, the only light coming from slants in the curtains and medical machines. The chatter was stronger. It came from the bed. A hospital bed, in which a dark figure stood. A figure like a hole in reality. Hooked to it, countless perfusions. The figure didn't look at them. It didn't react. It kept its chattering, nonexistent eyes staring at nothing.

They exited. This was the Ideal that had destroyed all of humanity in a few seconds.

"The fear network, the phenomenon X augmented and used to destroy humanity, took a great toll on it. It's been in that state, unchanging, for two hundred years.

"I destroyed all of humanity, but I also destroyed all those who would stand by me. R25 hates me for reenacting something so traumatic to them. R17 hates me for doing something so irrational. Lape... hates me. I did something so terrible to them. Pushed them away, brought them in back again only to scare them away again... and then dying before their own eyes. And X, who I found, befriended, me, the only person who gave them appreciation and love... ultimately used them and irreversibly destroyed them."

They took their seats again. Enner brought the soup. Smell of thyme and rosemary. They ate.

"And now ?" Jhin returned the question. "The goal you had hasn't been realized, far from it. A new war has started.
-And now, I just live. I learned something, after all of that. I learned that the best way to live, is simply to live. To learn from the others, and accept them, and to live. War and strife is only going to make peace further away."

Jhin didn't agree. To him, combat was necessary to get what you wanted. You couldn't get what you wanted if you didn't stand up for it. Melissa had complicated thoughts on the matter. On one hand she agreed that fighting would just lead to more fighting, but also that to protect something or someone you had to fight.

"It may be difficult to understand, I know. And I knew that as well. In that goal, I carried out a certain ritual just before event 0." Enner stood up. They lifted their coat, and revealed their body. Under the coat, instead of a body, countless cockroaches swarmed, all huddled together.

"I am waiting for this world to fall, for my final ties to be cut. Just before event 0, I made a deal with a colony of cockroaches. I agreed to guide them, as a spiritual guide of some sort. Cockroaches are hardy. No matter how many times the world falls, I know they will be able to rebuild it. And so, don't worry.

"You cannot stop now. Your conscience won't let you. You're doing the right thing, after all. But, don't be worried about me. Do what you must. The future haunts you, and just like me years ago, this haunting won't let you stop. I can only pray that you end up well."

Suddenly, it all clicked for Jhin. No matter what riches you could accumulate, these were useless against the wheels of time. Suffering would never stop however, and everyone could suffer. He decided that, like Melissa, he would fight, not for himself, but to protect others. He would fight not for the present, but for the future.

>GOLDEN_ICOSAHEDRON_24 : How to make a ghost