At the heating pipes of district 22.
“Hey, Milleia, what are we?”
“I'm also curious myself,” she said. “You never once came to my side even when the central pillar was attacked.”
“If I said I didn't know you're there, would you buy it?”
“Yes,” She couldn't help but give a pained smile to the sword he had on his side. “Of course, you wouldn't.”
“She was our mother.”
“But that woman tried to kill me!”
“She's just confused.”
“Oh? The adopted son defends his mother. Classic. What do you care anyway? I'm not even important,” Milleia smiled wryly. “But still, thank you for clearing this up. For both our sakes.”
“Yeah,” Von with his blank mask couldn't portray any emotion. He couldn't anymore. “Don't worry about it.”
Ten years. The next Fair would be in ten years' time. After that, she could opt to live a peaceful life, away from madness and dreams… away from Von. No more Concierge, no more Merchandise, just spending the rest of the days struggling like a normal human. Milleia had never dreamed of the day she’d think of the future should things go… out of her projections. Was being Madonna the only path she could take? Atop the sizzling pipes, she found herself swimming in doubt.
“Hey Milleia.” Von called out before she left. “Do you still want to be Madonna?”
She didn't respond and jumped off. She and the jet-black bar she carried with her disappeared into the neon color city below.
This was for the best, Von convinced himself. After all, I couldn't give her anything.
But you gave her freedom.
He turned around but there wasn't anyone. The voice sounded so familiar, but he couldn't remember. Was it his master? It couldn't be. He ran a hand over the sword by his side. You’ve been shaping my curse well, I see. Don’t worry, I’d take everything you’ve got and some.
In this city, no one would spare a second glance to someone as ugly as me.
The nameless city only had one currency and it was beauty. Gold coins called Phi were used to denote value with the silver ones called Theta were the everyday money, only usable to buy whatever rotten goods the layer had.
It was an unforgiving, twisted system. Surprisingly, people adapted well to it and even managed to aim for the stars. There's no impossible hurdle for the human race. They kept evolving and bettering themselves through momentary roadblocks. Epidemics, war, calamities, these were but tools to surpass their current limits.
People were fascinating, and at the same token, became beautiful.
Tori skimmed through some random text she found while reading through the net. She oftentimes hacked into it out of boredom and read some classified information regarding future plans or new technologies and medicine.
“Incompatibility with nanomachines, eh? Sounds like a benefit than a detriment,” She grabbed some of her candies and munched it. “I only wished it took effect for me.”
A holographic notification popped up.
She scratched her head and begrudgingly walked over to the resting room. “Hey, done resting? The girl's coming over in a few minutes for her checkup. If you don't want to be seen then beat it.”
The enormous greatsword resting on the wall piqued her interest once more so she tapped it. As expected, it was made from some special forging technique not available today. Was this also the same as that cursed jian?
The huge guy slung it over his back and went to the back door. “I hope you ready yourself next time. Everything got accelerated.”
“Yeah, yeah, whatever. Just, shoo,” She waved a hand as if shooing a dog. “What a weirdo. Sigh, he pays good food though so who am I to complain,” She stuck her hand on her lab coat pocket and played with the coins she kept there, smiling to herself.
Dingdong—“Speaking of the devil. Coming!”