Chapter 17:

The End


Lucky feels like a bloated balloon as she finishes off the final receipt in the Alliance’s food reserves. She feels like her systems are running through mucky streams of water, and now she understands why One was always so strict with Kerfuffles about his eating habits.

“Are you alright?” One asks in concern. “I know you said you wanted to eat as much as possible to level up your skill, but it doesn’t mean much if your systems aren’t able to process it.”

“T-too late,” Lucky says weakly. “I’ll work it off on our way to the CEO’s house.”

One looks unsure, his hand raised uncertainly as if he wants to comfort her. Instead, he looks to Sir Kerfuffles, his blue eyes glowing even more intensely than usual. “What do you think, sir? Should we go?”

Kerfuffles stares at her for a long, hard moment. Lucky’s heart races. She doesn’t doubt that he genuinely cares for her, in his own way. Whether it’s just because she’s useful, or he really does like her, it doesn’t matter. He won’t send her into a situation where the risk outweighs the reward.

Sir Kerfuffles eventually gives her a nod of approval. “She can do it. And if she can’t—well—hoo hoooo!”

Gee. As if she wasn’t already feeling the pressure before.

One scratches at one of his horns, a hand on his hip. He sighs. “Well, if that’s what our fearless leader says, then I guess it’s up to me to get us there, huh?”

He takes Lucky in his arms as Sir Kerfuffles hops onto his shoulder. Mindful of the plants in the gardens, he ignites fire from his feet and takes off with a surge of power, propelling them into the pollution-soaked night sky.

Lucky looks up at One lethargically. “How long will it take us to get there? Do you know where we’re going?”

“About five minutes. Maybe less.” One tucks her under one arm and Kerfuffles under the other. Then he gets in running position. Any second now, Lucky knows he’ll take off at speeds that will make her feel like her face is stretched so tight she might as well have gotten plastic surgery. Yup. Any second now.

Any second-------any second……any second?

“Just go already!” she snaps at him impatiently.

As if he was waiting for these exact words, he smirks, revs his engines, and runs.

She was spot on about his speeds; they were simply unreal. They were blasting through the nightscape so quickly it looked like a blur effect edit. It’s the first time, really, about this city they’re in. “Hey, One?”


“I never really had the time to look into what city we’re in. Where exactly are we?”

“You mean you don’t know? We’re in Miami.”

“Miami…” Just putting a name to this insidious city filled with corruption and beauty beyond compare fills her with a sense of determination. She wants to protect this place and all the Pets that are in it. She wants to know what it could look like without the darkness of the GACHA system leaving the city leaving the city of sun in a state of perpetual overcast. “What a weird place this is,” she mumbles under her breath.

One shrugs. “You grow to hate it, in your own special way.”

Kerfuffles snickers. “One just can’t be honest. He grew up here before he became a Pet.”

“And it’s still the same lousy place I remember—it’s a shame.”

Lucky laughs. “Well, let’s go make it suck a little less.”



They really do arrive at the mansion in record time, and Lucky doesn't feel much worse for wear. She still doesn’t think her systems are working at full capacity, but she’s definitely inching closer to being able to unleash her skill in all of its upgraded glory.

They land at the front of a long strip of road that leads to the mansion, and Lucky merely twitches in One’s arms, not quite ready to get down yet. Sir Kerfuffles does get down though, and nearly flops on his face. “Oooooh oh. That doesn’t get easier no matter many times he does it.”

Just as Lucky is about to ask him if he’s okay, a set of bright lasers are shot at them from inside the forest of trees. One dodges it almost carelessly, and his expression hardens. Get back on, Sir Kerfuffles. We’re about to get treated to the infamous security system that my sister has been telling us so much about.”

“You can’t mean...!”

“Bullet Hell.”


Without even a moment to ask questions, a squad of Pets comes out of the woods and shoots them with what can be only described as an entirely random assortment of. Some shoot spiky cactuses from their backs and others fire energy blasts with a kick of their giant cannon feet. A group of them even have a head the shape of a piece of rotating artillery, releasing bullets in fixed and complex patterns at them in synchronization with each other.

It’s overwhelming, but One just grits his teeth and launches and dodges each wave with finesse and patience that could only be born through immense practice on his part. Lucky, though she knows she may delay her recovery time, decides to shoot some lasers back at them, and manages to take down a handful, much to the relief of Sir Kerfuffles, who could do nothing but yell instructions into One’s ears.

“On your right—your right. No—wait, your left! Agh, we’re not making any progress at all. Hang in there!”

For the first time, Lucky witnesses One ignoring Kerfuffles’ orders. She privately thinks it’s for the best.

One summons a giant fireball into his hand and raises it above his head. It shorts off in pieces like big meteors and engulfs the forests and Pets in flames. When Lucky notices that many of the Pets are still standing, she realizes that they must be fireproof.

One cries out in pain as he’s hit by a bullet in the aftermath of his attack. He only left himself vulnerable for a second, and this is what happens!

Just when Lucky thinks they’re toast, the bullets stop. The stillness is a shocking contrast to the racket of bullets being blasted at them, but it doesn’t calm her nerves in the slightest.

“I don’t know what’s happening but run while you have the chance!” Lucky cries.

One staggers for a beat. “Must have been Two. Impeccable timing, as always.” He squeezes them both tightly and jets away, not giving the Pets a chance to recover and chase after them. One doesn’t even bother to go through the front entrance and just crashes into the courtyard through the glass pavilion ceiling above it.

The glass falls at their feet in loud, shattered bits. One’s flames glow brightly in the dark courtyard, and it gives Lucky a taste of what the interior of this so-called mastermind’s mansion is like. It’s antique and refined in a way that screams nobility in a country that never had a single king in its history. The stairs are marble, and the if she focuses her eyes a little more, she can see the ocean from the wide windows at the back of the house.

“Hah! Didn’t I tell you, boss? A little persuasion goes a long way, doesn’t it?”

“Lester,” Lucky says with disdain. Sure enough, the man descends the marble steps with the stuffed dog, Barkley, at his feet. Just behind is a man with long, sleek black hair. He looks over at Lester with clear distaste in his eyes. “Indeed. A little persuasion and you’ve given me exactly what I wanted. Good work.”

“One,” Lucky says, “you can put me down now.”

One squeezes her tighter, and the silent refusal says it all—he wants to protect her. In Lucky’s opinion though, he’s already done more than enough, and her systems? They’re ready.

She wiggles out of his grip, and lands on his cute pink little paw pads. She glares up at them as they look over them on the staircase defiantly. “You must be Yuzuru Takahashi. What do you want with me?”

He chuckles, and descends a single step, as if as a sign of goodwill. “Nothing more than your companionship. You see, your creator was a very dear friend of mine. She was the one who first developed the technology to create Pets. She made you and your counterpart Barkley,” he says, gesturing at the other stuffed dog, who even at this moment says nothing.

“A good friend…and where is she now?”

Yuzuru frowns. “Well, I was hoping you could tell me that, one friend to another. After she created you two, she disappeared. It's been over a decade, and not a single word of her whereabouts.”

“And why do you want to find her?”

“Well, she’s the one who made the GACHA system possible; she deserves to share in the reward.”

Does he think she’s stupid?

“Do you think she’s stupid?” Sir Kerfuffles says, hopping up to stand at her side. “Or maybe ignorant? Well, I won’t allow it.”

He turns to Lucky and activates his skill. “It’s time to level the playing field.”

It happens so quickly, that even as Barkley rushes down the stairs to stop them, it’s already too late—Lucky remembers—and she remembers everything.

What Yuzuru said about her creator is not entirely a lie; but it isn’t the whole truth, either. She did create the Pet system, but it wasn’t so that she could profit off of it, or punish delinquency. Who would have thought that this vile, dehumanizing system originally came from a place of love?

Not unlike Bliss or the other Pets, Lucky (whose real name is, surprisingly, also Lucky) was a delinquent. To be blunt, she was a homeless runaway. She spent her days on the streets surviving by stealing and swindling, with nothing but her dear friend Angel by her side. It was an okay life if one didn’t think about how much other people had it better. Still, it didn’t mean it was a good one.

Eventually, Lucky developed a disease that she had no hope of curing, much less fighting. And in those days—when Pain visited her and abused her daily—Barbie, her creator, her long-lost sister, and the person who loved her the most—found her.

Barbie created the “Pet” system to give Lucky a body before she died. Lucky agreed to do it, and Angel begged Barbie to change him into a Pet too. He really loved Lucky, and he didn’t want her to be lonely. Lucky loved him just as much.

The process went smoothly, and Lucky and Angel were finally in their new bodies—the trouble lay with what happened afterward. Yuzuru heard about Barbie’s work, and stole it out of greed, forcefully establishing the GACHA system with his business partner.

To protect Lucky and Angel, she locked them away in sleep mode in her secret lab, where they stayed in hiding for years. Beyond the moment they were powered down in the labs, Lucky doesn’t remember anything at all. She decides that Yuzuru should be the one to give her the answers she needs.

“You’re a snake,” she hisses. “When did you rediscover us?”

“Just recently,” he says. “I kept Barkley—or Angel—by my side for personal use and put you on the market. I didn’t identify any special skills in your software, unlike Barkley. Surprisingly, it was Lester’s analysis that made me realize your potential was even greater than I imagined. Unfortunately, you had already escaped by then.”

“I see,” Lucky says. “Thank you for your honesty.” A small part of her means it, too. She’s been looking for answers, and he just gave them to her as if it were nothing. Lucky guesses that once you’ve been caught in your schemes and lies, there’s no point in pretending any longer.

“Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, I think it’s time I destroyed this so-called system of yours. My sister never wanted this, and neither do I!”

“You don’t understand. Without the system, crime will rise!” For the first time, he seems genuinely angry, his face twisted in an ugly expression. “I’m preventing that from happening! I’m giving these low-potential kids purpose, and by creating the GACHA system, I’ve given people true equality!”

He climbs back up the step. “Anyone can play, anyone can beat the odds! A wealthy person could spend thousands and fail to get a Pet, while someone who hasn’t paid a penny could get lucky enough to adopt one for free! How could a system like this possibly upset you?”

Lucky looks at him in disgust. “You are such…a hypocrite.” She doesn’t waste another second on the man. He couldn’t be bothered to give kids time to grow and sort out their lives? Well, she’s going to make sure he lives a long, long time so that he can spend the rest of his days trying to understand what he did wrong.

She activates her skill, Call of the Wild, and orders them all to live freely, not as Pets, but as people.

The effect is immediate: Barkley, who had never said a word, took one look at her and tackled her into a hug, tears running down his face. “I’m so sorry…! I never meant to hurt you!” Lucky hugs him back, and smiles. “It’s okay,” she says. “You get to choose now.”


After Lucky sets all the Pets in the city free and rescues her friends and the members of the Alliance, they party all night in various parts of the city to celebrate their liberation. Yuzuru and Lester are taken captive by Sir Kerfuffles as he negotiates changes in the laws for Pets.

After the party, Lucky decides that liberating just one city is not enough—the GACHA system is a global phenomenon that needs to be challenged, and her friends are eager to help her do it.

The system may have been designed to dictate their lives and destroy their futures, but it did do one good thing for them: it brought them together. And for Lucky? It's the sweetest kind of justice.

Steward McOy