Chapter 19:

Epilogue: Once Again

Hanging by a Thread

Once upon a time, the world was without cause. All who lived simply lived in the moment, continuing to go about their mundane lives without a second thought. The tides flow ever onward, but no shores would greet them. The future was unknown, and it was time for change.

The great primordial goddess of the night, Nyx, gave birth to three beautiful girls. They would grow to become the Moirai, the goddesses of fate.

Clotho, she who spun the threads.

Lachesis, she who measures the threads.

Atropos, she who cuts the threads.

The Moirai had many worshippers. It was believed that if a great enough offering was made, they would change the fate of those who were struck with misfortune. However, that was all they were seen as.

To those who knew them, they were but tools to be used and forgotten.

To those who know them not, they were mere eye candies to satiate desires.

Eventually, they gave up on everything. Their mother, their relationships, and themselves. They are not their own people. They never were, and they never will be.

"Hm...? What are you guys just standing there for?" Asahi asked as he turned around.

The fates stood next to each other on an empty sidewalk, staring at the human boy in front of them. His face was exactly as they remembered, the one that they missed so much.

"Asahi...kun?" Chloe gasped with tears forming in her eyes.

"Come on," he chuckled. "We don't have all day."

Lana reached her hand out to grab him, but he faded away. His warm eyes, his precious smile—gone, along with the beautiful city around them, replaced by the dark walls of their tower.

"How annoying," Alice scoffed. "To think we'd have a vision of him together... What's gotten into us?"

"Isn't that obvious?" Lana sighed.

They both looked at Chloe. She was always the emotional one, so they weren't at all surprised to see her softly crying. Alice wrapped her arms around her sister as a way to calm her down, but it barely worked.

"I miss him..." she whimpered. "I miss him so much. I want... to see him again."

"As do we," Alice said. "However, we can not see him. Not yet, at least."

Lana held an arm out in front of her. "So let's keep working and get back to Asahi-kun as soon as we can. You in?"

Alice rested her hand on top of Lana's, and they turned to Chloe with encouraging smiles. She lightly giggled before wiping away her tears, joining them in a moment of cheers.

"Yeah," she said. "One day... We'll meet Asahi-kun again."

"You bet!" Lana grinned.

"And that's a promise," Alice added.

With renewed confidence and strengthened resolve, the fates continued their work.

For times unrecorded, they worked endlessly. Chloe spun the threads, Lana measured them, and Alice snipped off the ends as deemed necessary.

One day, while they were still tirelessly working, three knocks came from their door.

"A visitor at this hour?" asked Lana.

Alice sighed and stepped away to open the door. Upon twisting the knob and pulling it back, her face went blank when she saw a pink-haired girl just a bit taller than her. For some reason, those huge eyes and that wide smile annoyed Alice to no end.

"Atro- I mean... Alice, my dear~!" the girl sang.

Immediately, Alice slammed the door shut, alleviating herself of the irritating bug on her doorstep.

"Alice! Wait!" the girl whined playfully, her words muffled.

"Go away, Penny," Alice sighed.

"Whaaat? How could you say that to your dearly beloved sister?"

"We're busy."

"B-but... but we..."

Those incomplete words were then followed by a long and awkward silence.

"Pst... Hugh, help me out," Penny whispered.

The door suddenly blasted open, and in walked a boy who was a bit shorter than the Moirai. His golden eyes were half-closed and puffy as an aloof smile was spread across his face. His silvery hair was messy as if he had just woken up. Even if he did, it seems he didn't get enough sleep, as he casually made his way over to the couch and faceplanted on it.

"Hugh... I'm only gonna say this once," Lana growled. "Go sleep elsewhere."

"I'm already comfortable, though..." he mumbled, still keeping that idiotic smile on his face.

That was all it took for Lana to jump on top of Hugh and imprison him in a chokehold. Given how unrestrained Lana is when it comes to her strength, Hugh felt all the pain in the world.

"Ack! Ow, ow! Lana!" he exclaimed.

"You think you can just barge in here and sleep whenever you want?!" Lana shouted.

"I'll stop, I'll stop!"

Penny poked her head in to witness the torture she had subjected Hugh to. Alice twisted her head menacingly, forcing an "Eek!" out of her.

"You still want in?" she muttered.

With eyes wide with fear, Penny began turning her head left and right as fast as she could.

"Then leave."

"Now, now, Alice. That's no way to speak to your older sister," yet another voice said.

She looked over Penny's shoulder to see a tall and burly man in a black suit. A fancy hat hid away the upper half of his head, but she could still see his grimly eyes... grimly eyes that were bubbling with joy.

"Morris," Alice greeted him respectfully.

He pulled out a bouquet of the brightest flowers and held it to her.

"For you, my precious sisters," he offered. "A gift to welcome you back."

Alice stared apathetically at those beautiful flowers before gesturing for Morris to lower his head down. He did as she asked, and the respectful tone of her voice was gone.

"Do you want to die?" she whispered dangerously.

"N-no, ma'am," Morris stuttered nervously.

"Then I suggest you take these two and get the hell out of here."

Suddenly, Chloe giggled, and that turned into a full-hearted laugh. Her buoyant elation was all it took to stop the commotion.

"I'm... sorry," she mumbled after calming down. "It's just... this makes me so happy for some reason."

Lana and Alice couldn't help but crack a smile. As annoying as they are, they're still siblings. The first thing the fates saw when they returned home was a welcome party hosted by their family. They were more than happy to welcome their sisters back.

As joyful as it was while it lasted, it became too much after a while. The only thing they wanted was to finish their work and get back to Asahi as soon as possible, but their family, despite their good intentions, would not leave them alone for even a day.

"Fine, you can stay, but don't utter a single word," Alice warned. "I mean it."

Hugh and Penny perked right up and shouted, "Yes, ma'am!"

The next second, the three of them were sitting on the same sofa with Morris taking up most of the space. As there was nowhere else to sit, Hugh had to squeeze into the middle.

"Morris!" he exclaimed as quietly as possible. "Can you get any fatter?!"

"What did you do to make yourself that big?!" Penny silently chimed in.

"I... will pretend like I didn't hear any of that," Morris whispered back.

"Did I hear someone speak just now?" Alice's voice crept into their ears like an icicle.

The three of them flinched and immediately zipped their mouths.

"I dunno," Lana replied as she tilted her head over to them. "Must've been the wind. Right...?"

They then rapidly nodded their heads with the guiltiest faces ever.

"I didn't hear anything," Chloe said cluelessly. "Anyway, let's keep up the pace. We're almost done with today's batch."

But in fact, they were nowhere near done. What was supposed to be a fun day at the Moirai's tower ended up being a miserable snooze chamber.

Even when they attempted to leave, Alice's cold glare made them sit right back down. Footsteps made noise. The door opening made noise. Everything they did made noise. And so, they were left but one option; stay there and bear witness to what was perhaps the most boring thing they had ever seen.

"Okay... and that's it," Alice said as she snipped off the last thread. "Good work today, girls."

"You too," Chloe sighed with relief.

"So, guys," Lana smirked as she turned to her siblings, who were pretty much asleep at this point. "Did you have fun watching us?"

"O-of course, we did," Penny forced a grin. "Right, guys?"

"Where am I...?" Hugh asked drowsily. "Who am I...? Am I... real?"

"So this is what it feels like to face one's doom..." Morris shuddered. "Perhaps it is time to retire."

"I'm glad you liked it!" Chloe smiled brightly. "Will we be expecting you here again tomorrow? It'll be the exact same thing!"

"Eh?!" the three of them exclaimed.

Penny bolted for the door, only stopping herself to give one final farewell. "I-I just remembered that I have some plans for tomorrow," she quickly said. "Good luck with your work!"

"I... I need to catch up on some sleep. Yeah, that's it..." Hugh muttered as he wrapped himself in a blanket. Even though he was very clearly underneath, the lump made by his body slowly disappeared.

"I have faced doom once today. Never again," Morris said lifelessly as he showed himself out.

Just like that, they were gone.

"Eh?" Chloe's pout was evidence of her innocent surprise. "But... I thought they enjoyed it."

"Don't worry. They'll be back," Lana scoffed as she rested an arm on Chloe's shoulder.

The girls gathered around a small area by the fireplace to relax. Now that they were doing nothing in complete silence, they indulged in memories of the past. Despite having lived for so long, their minds were locked on the most recent moments with Asahi. It was as if they had forgotten everything else.

How long has it been since they've last seen him? 'Too long,' they thought.

Chloe sprung up from her seat. As tired as she was of working all day, she sat right back down on her wheel to spin more threads. Lana and Alice exchanged heartened smiles before joining her.

Everyone has a set path. Humans, gods, and even the Moirai themselves. Since the dawn of their time, they knew exactly what the future entailed—the fate of every living person revealed in just a blink of an eye.

However, their omniscience has been flawed. For the first time in their lives, they could not see the future of one single human. His life and death, shrouded in complete mystery.

And so, the girls return to work, hopeful of the day that they may see him again. Unbeknownst to them, their own threads of fate continue to form, paving the way to the unknown. The wheel will keep on turning, for neither Asahi nor the Moirai have yet to realize their true fate.