Chapter 7:

We're all just puppets, strung up by the strings of fate. Or so he says.

FICTION: If you held the power of god in your two hands, would you save the world? Would you doom it? Or would you watch from the sidelines, just as you had done before?

Have you ever heard of The Akashic Records?

Well, it’s less of a literal record, and more of a theory of sorts. Say that there was a knowledge base containing every single universal object and its exact trajectory. Mathematically speaking, you could use such a thing to predict the events of the future with perfect accuracy. And by extension, that would mean that the entire future was already set out in stone, and it had only yet to occur.

That theoretical predetermination of the entire past, present, and future, was theorized and named “The Akashic Records”. Of course, there’s much more to the whole theory than just the record itself, but the realm of rationality just about ends there.

But one thing that ascension to immortality will teach you is that rationality, like many other things, is a fabricated concept.

In the grand scheme of things, it simply doesn’t exist.


In a small farming village hidden among the remote Netherlandic countryside; far from the reaches of telephone poles, wires, or any sort of technology, I was taking in the subdued scenery which rolled out in all directions. There was nothing but cattle, colorful fields of wheat and flowers, and cheerful rolling grasslands for miles in every direction. Scarce pathways separated out the land into neatly kept sections of wide farmland, to the point where it wouldn’t surprise me if OCD was dominantly bred in this country.

I took my time, step by step along the dirt-road pathways which always seemed to invite me to explore. Even if the scenery looked the same no matter which direction I pulled my attention toward, it was all beautiful just as well, so I never really got bored wandering.

But I did have a destination: a singular windmill tower of white bricks, which looked just like any other in the surrounding area. It was tens of miles out from my current location, but with the ever-flat plains, I could see it even from here. I was ultimately headed in that direction, but the winding path that I took to get there mattered not, nor did the timeframe at which I arrived.

As a breeze moved past me paying no mind to my presence, popcorned clouds stood still in the sky. I stopped occasionally to watch the larger ones slowly divide, or the smaller ones fizzle out entirely to make way for the sun’s welcoming rays. It was times like these which I forgot that time even moved at all. With my unaging body and my nails and hair which no longer grew nor withered, I wondered if my perception of such a concept would eventually cease altogether.

Though, when all I did was idly pass life by, time really didn’t hold much meaning to me anymore anyway.

On a bit of an unrelated note, it was somewhat of a miracle that none of us chosen ten held time-manipulation abilities. Of course, I had the most comprehensive first-hand knowledge of the Chosen and their powers, so I would likely know if one of them could mess freely with the flow of seconds. Not by intention of course, but watching them all as I did, it was only natural.

But really, time manipulation. Now that would just be too overpowered. Maybe I could ask the Record about it to be sure it was impossible.

He had called me here to see him, after all.

First time he had gone out of his way to do so.

Really, I could be anywhere I wanted at any time in a near instant. Traversing by flight or by teleportation was a simple feat. Well, not technically teleportation, but lightspeed travel was basically the same thing to the naked human eye. But the scenery in the Netherlands never failed to reel me down to the ground and inspire me to stand on my own two feet, which I only ever did nowadays when I was lost in a moment.

I liked the little country a lot, if you couldn’t tell.

It must have been a few days at least before I finally reached the tall, solar structure, which towered above my immature figure from close up.

The architecture was meticulous; a bit surreal even, and yet it also had a very hand-crafted look to it. The Record hired a local craftsman to build it for him, paying entirely up front. I had happened to see a good portion of the construction progress first hand, so you could say that I had a multi-layered appreciation of its artistic beauty.

Even though it looked identical to the other windmills which spotted the surrounding plains, this particular one felt special to me. It held a story which I had been there to witness; one which was still ongoing.

Or really, I just had a bias towards it because I got to see its construction process. Like those videos on Youchube where two guys built primitive living spaces from scratch.

Those are staged, by the way.


“So you’re here. Ovid is brewing tea.”

It was the first thing he said to me, immediately after I let myself into the building.

Really, it bothered me that he was capable of sensing my movement no matter how well I concealed my presence.

Or more actually, how he could predict my movements.

But I couldn’t really call it unfair either, as the Record had what could be considered the weakest ability out of all ten of The Chosen. In layman’s terms, he could store an infinite number of memories. And considering his terrible sense of logic, his near-perfectly accurate ability to predict the movements, actions, and even thoughts of almost any one person or thing was no more than a product of the mass amounts of information about the world which he had crammed into his brain through various methods of study.

“Ah, so you’ve arrived already. My apologies for the wait, Observer.”

Of course, such feats could not be achieved without the help of his android assistant, Ovid.

I made a habit of rendering myself visible when I was here, mainly for her sake.

On a slightly unrelated note, the concept of “living” versus “dead” always struck me as strange, as I was capable of rendering myself equally untraceable when it came to things that were often considered “not living” by humans, such as androids or household robots. Though, there had been many activist-driven civil rights movements to grant equal rights to robots as well recently, but as something human-made, the line of what did and didn’t qualify as “living” or even just deserving of independent rights became blurry for them.

For me, it didn’t really matter. As far as my ability went, I could become invisible to even a rock if I so pleased; but then again, a rock was just as equally living to me as any animal or human. But that’s just practically speaking.

To me, every self-sustaining dynamic cycle is both independently alive, as well as part of other greater or lesser life forms. Humans were just narrow-minded.

Plus, language is subjective anyway. “Alive” and “dead” mean different things in the context of different languages, and are used to mean several different things even within those independent languages.

But when you start to speak in terms of subjectivity to that extent, talking about anything at all begins to seem stupid.

Sorry in advance, to whoever may have to translate all that.



She led me into a separate room, calmly swaying her hips as the ribbons and frills of her anime-culture-inspired maid uniform happily bounced in response. I don’t think that the Record was any sort of otaku, except for maybe his obsessive studying, so it must have been Ovid’s own choice to wear such a frilly outfit. She’s worn a different one every time I come to visit, but I’ve failed to ask about it since the first time we formally met.

“Are you wondering about my uniform?”

“Not really.”

“You are. You’re staring at it quite intently.”


She let out a playful giggle. Really, I have to give respect where it was due; she was created to be endlessly charming.

“I really like these sorts of things. It’s my hobby to collect maid uniforms and maid-inspired dresses. The frilly ones especially suit my fancy.”

“That’s, well– I see.”

“I have maid lingerie too.”

“Didn’t ask.”

She found enjoyment in teasing me. I’m sure it was a general thing, but I couldn’t help but feel targeted. She didn’t used to be this way before I formally met her, after all.

“Well, I know what you’re really thinking. Really, it’s just part of my programming, but I have personal reservations about going in and changing my own personality presets. Especially as an alpha prototype, that sort of thing can be dangerous.”

“Can’t the Record do it?”

“I’ve come to like the way I am, and accept the things I like. Even if my beginnings are quite disgusting, I’ve long since departed from them. As you may know.”

Harsh words. Well, harsh but justified.

“Just don’t call me Alice.

A horribly ominous smile creeped up on her puppet-like face as her eyes closed kindly. She was joking, of course, but it didn’t terrify me any less.

“I know.”

The android-maid (we’re really living in strange times, huh) pulled a chair out for me, and then came around to sit at the other end of the table, which was out of the way of the Record’s study. Generally, he never stopped to take breaks for anything or anyone, so Ovid took care of everything from general upkeep, to entertaining guests.

She was his exclusive personal assistant.

She also conveyed anything to me related to any of our personal agreements, or when he needed a favor from me. Considering these two were really no more than a duo of NEETs, I often procured materials for them, or did anything that they couldn’t do from the comfort of a remote windmill in the middle of nowhere.

I was living on his dollar, after all. Not that I needed to, considering how easy it was for me to commit mass theft, but that meant getting involved with humans directly. It was easier for me like this.

“How are you faring these days? You procured a particularly expensive bill six months and twelve days ago.”

“I wanted to try some food.”

“Was it tasty?”

Sarcasm. In case you couldn’t tell.

“It was.”

Perhaps it was less that she was teasing me, and more so that she had a personal bias against me. I had been peeking in on her without her consent since the day she was born, after all. And currency was a concept long beyond me, so I spent the Record’s money as I pleased. I’m sure she didn’t like that.

“Well, I’m sure you’re aware of the reason why you’ve been called here personally.”


We were interrupted.

“Sorry Ovid, I changed my mind. I’d like to tell them myself.”

To both of our surprise, the owner himself stepped in. Which was much worse for me, considering conversations with Ovid were much more comfortable. And that’s saying a lot, but somebody who can accurately predict even what you’re thinking is really no fun to hold a conversation with.

“Are you sure?”

“This is a personal favor. It’s only proper.”

“I see. Then I will leave you two.”

“Thank you.”

She clicked her tongue as she left the room. Definitely at me.

He replaced her, then faced me directly. We had a moment of silence looking into each other’s eyes, before I looked away. I wonder when the last time was when he actually looked at another chosen face-to-face? Or really, at anything other than words on paper? I’m sure Ovid was a bit jealous of me.

Not that I wanted his eye contact. I didn’t really do well with people looking at me.

Go figure.

“Isn’t it customary to make eye-contact with somebody when they’re speaking to you?”

Well, aren’t you snarky? Two peas in a pod I guess.

“I’m just teasing.”

I know you are. Just get on with it. I already know why I’m here, but some people here probably need a clear explanation.

“It’s just you and me in this room.”

I know.

“Then don’t think stupid things.”

I hate this guy.

And I apologize in advance for this weird, meta situation. But I’m pretty sure a plot dump is coming, so you’ll have to stay tuned in for at least a bit.

“As you know, The Hero is dead. And I’ve already confirmed it, but she isn’t coming back either. And she’s not the only one that’s perished. The Seed was also murdered.”

I didn’t really like him anyway. To want to spread your genes to as many people as possible; and for that to be your super power even, it was creepy. I still don’t even agree with his name.

The Seed? Who would come up with such a nasty name? It’s like a middle-schooler joke.

“That’s not my point. His name doesn’t even-”

“You named him though.”

I spoke. I could be snarky too, if I felt like it. This guy needed it, sometimes.

“You’re really a handful, you know that?”


He sighed.

“There are eight Chosen left. Nine, if you count The Villain. But other than him, there’s The Chemist, The NEET, The Savior, The Villain, The Chaotic, and our culprit, The Ego.”

The Ego? You mean The Cultivator?

“I changed her name. We were wrong about-”

“So names do matter, then?”

His tone went a little flat as he hung his head. The mood changed.

Did I go too far?

“Can I– Well, is it okay for me to ask for your name, Observer?”

Why? Didn’t we agree to keep it to titles? It was your idea, even. And you already know anyway.

“They’re fake; those pieces of data that I hold. It, well… I–”

He was choking up a bit. My stomach sank as well, at the heavy turn of atmosphere.

“I know you won’t show me. I know that you’re hiding three pieces of data from me; from my memories. Of course, they both have to do with yourself. Those are the limits of your power, after all. But one of those things is your past; the other two, I don’t know.”

I’m not really hiding anything. Or, does it really matter if I am? You know everything. You already know my past, and my name. No need to ask.

“Data, Observer. It all lines up; all that stuff you talk about: ‘consistencies aren’t a falsehood’ and ‘life is chaotic’. I can assure you that it’s not true. Data always lines up. But with you, there are always inconsistencies. And it’s only you. That much, you can’t hide from me.”

I don’t really agree, but aside from that, what’s your point with all this, anyway?

“I’ve messed up. I’ve learnt too much. I–”

His eye contact left mine. And as I noticed that, I also noticed that at some point I had begun to look at him directly.

“Even now, I’m just following a predetermined fate. My Akashic Record is nearing its completion. And the more I learn, the more I become a puppet; acting out a predetermined future. I’m like a puppet on strings. We all are, but my own self-awareness is crushing me.”

The whole conversation was beginning to take a turn that was beyond my understanding. In fact, it reminded me a bit of something that made my head hurt equally.

Specifically, I had a dream the night before I ascended to near-godhood. Or it felt like a dream, but really, it was more like God was talking directly into my head. The God. It was the first and last time I had ever interacted with them.

They had proclaimed their departure from this universe, the passing on of their powers, and then this inelegant rant about fate and strings, just like what the Record was saying now. But I didn’t understand it then, and I still don’t. My abilities didn’t make me any smarter, after all.

“I thought the same thing when it got to this point. And then I realized that I was beginning to understand.”

Well, of course he came to the same remembrance. Well we all heard the same speech before our ascension, after all.

“I think I’m beginning to understand it, a little. And I’m beginning to regret it all. My ambition, my ascension; all of it.”

Why not just stop following this “fate”, or whatever? Why not just change it?

“I can’t. It’s too late. I’ve lost control. It’s still me; it’s still my actions, but at the same time, it’s not at all. It’s like I’m watching myself continue to be me, exactly how I would otherwise. It’s inevitable. You wouldn’t understand. I already know that this is as far as I explain it, and I already know that you couldn’t comprehend it.”

Okay. I get it, I don’t and will continue to not understand. Calm down a bit. What does this have to do with my name?

“That’s not really related. I just wanted to know.”

I felt a bit uncomfortable; my head began to spin and my thoughts were jumbled, so I decided to just stop thinking about it altogether. Something about The Record was different from the rest of us; I already could tell that much. There was no use trying to understand his mind or what he was thinking. All I could do is figure out what the point of this was. He’d only tell me with a proper reason.

“Well, there is a point. But also, I just wanted to talk to you. Despite everything, you’re really the closest thing I have to a friend.”

I see.

I didn’t know how to feel. I didn’t really know what a “friend” was, outside of my stories. I was really just confused in general.

“You don’t have to know. Honestly, I’m already aware that despite the fact that you haven’t come to terms with it, you consider me a friend too.”

“No, that’s wrong.”

I’m the Observer. I don’t have friends, or any interpersonal relationships for that matter.

Or well…

Perhaps he was right. He knew me better than I knew myself, probably. But it still irked me, to be self analyzed on a whim. It was always like this, whenever he talked to me directly. Like I had no privacy, and everything to him was just a script on paper; like some kind of screenplay he had memorized.

This was the worst I had seen him, though.

“That’s a bit ironic of you, isn’t it? As if you don’t treat the world like your personal entertainment. ‘Everyone and everything is equal in my head’. You’re full of yourself.”

At least I keep to myself. If I’m full of myself, it still affects nobody.

“It affects me.”


“No, I’ve said too much as well. You’re right, I should also stick to the point. I knew you wouldn’t tell me your name, or your past, but I still wanted to ask. I believe it’s more that I desired for you to know of your importance to me.”

Right. Well, thank you. Let’s move on.

“I need to ask you a favor.”

One that you already know I’ll accept?

“Well… correct.”

Let’s hear it then.

“We were wrong about The Ego. And I call her that now, because her ability to kill the other Chosen isn’t related to cultivation of strength at all. We were wrong about that, and apparently so is she. In reality, it scales directly with her own ego. So as she ‘trains her mind’, she begins to consider herself stronger than others. And in thinking so, she becomes stronger than them.”

Right. Well, I could tell where he was going with this. But it didn’t seem right to me.

“There’s no other Chosen that is able to kill her.”

“And how can I? I can’t kill other Chosen either. Even if I could, that’s direct interference.”

“If she can make herself stronger, she can make herself weak enough to be killed. As long as she sees her opponent as capable of it.”

So I would be assisting her in killing herself?

“If that’s how you’d like to see it, then yes.”

Well, it doesn’t really matter. It’s assisting in her involuntary death either way.

And it means getting involved.

“She only intends to kill the other Chosen for now, but she will eventually target the Earth and everything else. And you’ll stop her.”

It was the first time I had ever doubted the Record since he first began talking to me about his predictions. Perhaps what I’ve been hiding really has had an effect on his Akashic Record?

“No, I’m not incorrect. Those strings of data don’t overlap with these. You’ll make an exception. You have before.”

But I always fix my mistakes. I prevent changes from happening.

“I know I presented this as a favor, but it’s more of an inevitability that I’m warning you of.”

A warning? Since when did you give me warnings? You can’t expect me to do this. This is the one thing we agreed I wouldn’t do. I won’t interfere with humans.

“It’s only required that you are informed. Informed of the future, and informed that you cannot let her find out about her true ability. That is why I am here to warn you.”

But I won’t, right? And I’ll defeat her? So does it matter if I even know to begin with? Didn’t you just raise a death flag?

“It does matter. And you will. You don’t have to agree to it now, but just know that you will be the one to fight her. It’s fate.”

Does something change? Does something happen to me?

“Not really. You don’t have as rigid of a mindset as you think you do, is all. You’ll get to a point and think ‘well, I guess I can do it.’, and then you will.”

Right. Well, that’s all I needed to know then. I’m done here.

I left without saying goodbye. Or perhaps just thinking that was a goodbye on its own, considering he knew I would get up from my chair at that point in the conversation. Either way, I wouldn’t come to understand his mindset, so it didn’t matter to me how he felt.

This was the most I had talked in decades.

I never want to do it again.

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