They arrived at the outskirts of the city. Melissa choked a bit. She recognized these streets, these buildings. Jhin kind of knew them, but not much. He had only seen them when he had gone to the mall, now 200 years ago. But Melissa knew them. She had lived in this city all her life. And now, even two hundred years later, she still recognized them. They went toward the center of the city. At the very edge of the city, the buildings were in a very bad state, eroded by two centuries of wind, and unprotected by the other buildings. As they went further in, the state of the buildings was better and better. But, as they went further in, once again the buildings were worse. Eventually, they reached the closest they could get to the core of the city. In front of them, was a shore. As they followed the shore with their eyes, it curved around the horizon and came back, forming a giant circle at least more than a kilometer wide. And in the middle, there was a lake. A perfectly circular lake. Melissa got closer, and saw that the bottom of the lake was like an inverted sphere. It was a bowl. A perfectly smooth bowl, filled with water.
"It must be a shock," said a voice behind them. Melissa turned around, and saw that the voice came from a humanoid figure perched on a lamppost. "I'm the RAT. We've been waiting.
-Is this..." asked Melissa, on the verge of tears.
-Yes. This is... the final work of the descendant. This is the crater of the explosion that destroyed the Angel Land."
Melissa was silent. Hearing about the descendant made her heart twinge in a strange way. They had destroyed a lot of things that were dear to her, but could she really blame them ? "I can't possibly imagine how you feel," tried to comfort the RAT. "But, I can tell you that the descendant was not evil. All they did, they tried to do for the greater good. They only destroyed to rebuild. This time, however... they didn't have time to rebuild.
-Enough about that." Melissa stood up and wiped her tears away. "Who did you want us to meet ?"
The RAT led them to a small rowing boat. They got in, and the RAT rowed to the exact center of the lake. Below, the water was deep. At this point, the water was as deep as half of the lake. But, through the dark and murky waters of the deep end, they saw something shimmering. A small circle. The RAT took a rope, attached a stone at the end of it, and dropped it in the water.The stone fell and fell, and eventually they couldn't see it, except for the tense rope that linked it to the boat.
They took a great breath, and started to climb down the rope, quickly. At the bottom, the shimmering circle opened into another space. They entered.
They were still underwater, but could breathe with no difficulty. Around them, a blue sky, with sparse clouds. But something was wrong. Firstly, they could see the clouds below them. They were in the middle of the sky. Secondly, the clouds were wavy, as though seen through water. The sky was a little too blue, and the clouds were as well. They themselves were on a stone floor. They were on a platform that stretched toward the horizon, supported by pillars and arches that ended on no ground. Around them they could see other platforms.
The RAT led them once again through the maze. They walked a bit slower than usual, due to the water. This was the Angel Land, which the angels had occupied for millenias. A land that the descendant had wiped clean, in a single move. An attack that had opened a door to the Angel Land. A land that had been, over the course of two centuries, been filled with water.
They reached what was probably the center of this boundless land. Before them was a large black cloud, resting on the stone. The cloud woke up, and raised itself into a tall, formless figure, covered in broken eyes.
"I am the Dust." said the figure. "The one who called you here. Welcome to the Flooded Heaven." The RAT sat on the stone. "So... why did you want them here ?" they asked.
-Because we are threatened. We need heroes." answered the Dust.
"The angels kept humanity in check. They controlled them from the shadows, by means of organized religion, mostly. But, two hundred years ago, their grasp began to slip. The beliefs of humanity that had been kept in check came back, and the boundless potential of humans gave them shape. These are Ideals.
"However, two hundred years ago, when the religions collapsed, not everyone rejoiced. Those who were in these religions were in need of guidance. They needed a god. And so, from their seeking minds, a hugely powerful Ideal emerged. An Ideal representing the Sole God, the God alone in the sky, that rules the Heavens and the Earth, the Arbiter. This God's name is Ubu.
"Not all humans were involved in the unwilling creation of Ubu. Another large part of humanity simply believed in the thing most important to their life. A singular thing, as important to everyone. Something around which this whole world revolves, which gives life to it. The single most important thing. The Sun.
"From humanity, two hundred years ago, came two Ideals. Ubu, seeker of humanity, and the Sun, seeker of life. The two are opposed. Ubu loves humanity, and despises the conflicts between them. Ubu's only goal is to gather all humans into one mind, to render all wars obsolete. Ubu loves humanity more than anything.
"The Sun, however, despises humans. Since times immemorial, the Sun shone in the sky. It has seen everything, all of humanity. The sun knows what life was like before humans soiled it. The Sun also knows how the world was before the Argillacreantis launched their seeds of life unto it. As such, It seeks to destroy all current life, and begin everything again.
"Both of these Ideals are at war. Already they have claimed dozens of victims. They both have a following in the thousands, one that follows Their command perfectly."
-And what do we have to do with all this ?" asked Jhin.
"I need you both to collect three swords. These swords were forged a bit after you left. In the panic following event zero, lots of Ideals were born. To defend themselves, these three swords were forged to kill Ideals. Using these is the only way to kill Ubu and the Sun."
-I see. Also, what's event zero ? We heard that term before, but we don't know what it means.
"Event Zero is the name given to the moment when humanity was almost wiped out, two hundred years ago. A person named Enner wiped it out. However, thanks to the efforts of the descendant, who created human beings with a non-human soul, and thanks to other anomalies, there were survivors who rebuilt the cities you passed through."
The pair took some time to process. That was a lot. And... they needed some time to decide what to do. The RAT led them back to the rope, and they climbed back out into the boat, and came to the shore to set up camp.