Deus Ex Machina

In those trembling hands lay the girl's clear resolution.
The fates of all the stories she has read have been left to her.
Stories are memories, the very scars of life.
From small favors to great deeds, history is made.
She once believed herself the protagonist in one of those tales,
a lone hero who prayed for humanity's revival in her prison of
a castle on the barren moon.
She believed her burden would be left behind for others to read.
But she was more puppet than hero, a mere machine incapable of
holding every tale of human history. When she realized this,
a thought came to her:
perhaps people were created to entertain God with stories.
What, then, is God? Humanity? Her creators? Some other
being who observes her? Regardless, she knows that
once a tale is born, it will reach someone. And so she hopes to
leave her own memories, proof of her existence, her journey.


Hail! Hail!
For the first prince has at last been born!
May our prosperous land flourish forevermore!
Behold! Behold! For this is the portrait of the second child
who shoulders our country's future!
His intrepid eyes are those of the king!
He is wise beyond his years!
Attention! Attention!
For the first prince has raised the flag of rebellion and fled!
Loathsome traitors will pay for their crimes, dead or alive!
Hark! Hark! For this is an old tale. The second prince of
a distant kingdom inherited the will of his father, the king, and
spread the fires of war. But the exiled first prince brought
peace everywhere he went, bringing an end to—


The girl did not understand the meaning of being born.
She found herself here one day, a puppet to her house.
As she hid her pain, everyone around her used her
to their own ends.
When she saw the woman, she immediately knew that this woman
would bring about her death. She'd never seen anyone so beautiful.
How cold she was in her slaughter...
Perhaps there were worse ways to die.
And yet, the woman listened to the girl as she cursed the world that
bent her to its whims, and instead wielded her blade to help the girl.
The rainy day when she was drenched in the woman's blood was
the true day of her birth.
The two live together peacefully and uneventfully,
but each day reminds the girl that she is, in fact, alive.
But little does she know that the woman,
too, was reborn on the day they met...

Alpha and Omega Salute

We're having a baby.
I want to make this country into the ideal place so that
this child will appreciate having been born.
I've been more efficient at work?
Well, of course!
I have to work hard for the baby!
Wait, I'm being transferred?
But why? I'm still perfectly efficient!
I mush continue to push this country forward!
Today, I was told I'm being transferred...
Do they have any idea how hard I've been working for this country!?
Huh? Why do you look so happy?

Crown Rod

The boy I like told me he loves me, Grandma.
We exchanged Avowal Rings, we embraced, and then we kissed...
But you know, I'm a little scared. I'm so happy it scares me.
Grandma? Can you hear me?
I've started showing signs of the same sickness Mom had...
It's freaking him out too. What should I do?
And on top of that, I think I'm pregnant...
I don't think I can have this baby, Grandma.
Mom became a completely different person after her illness, right?
And he left me, so I'll be the only one raising this child...
I did it, Grandma. I did it all alone, but I have a baby girl now.
I wish you and Mom could've seen her. Him too, even.
Oh, my sweet, precious child...
I hope you grow to be the happiest person in the world.

Seasonal Shift

One of my favorite foods is the great big fried eggs my dad
used to make for me. He was always a bit of a clumsy guy,
but I always loved how those eggs tasted,
and I think about them even now.
I'm climbing a raging volcano at this very moment so I might
acquire a nutritious egg from the massive bird that nests here.
According to my dad's journal,
this is where he got the eggs he would fry for me.
My vision warps slightly due to the intense heat.
I bite into some of the rations I brought in an attempt to recover
some of my strength, but I can't manage to swallow any of it.
As my consciousness fades, I hear a beating of wings.
Determined to not let myself go down here,
I focus my energy into my feet.
I will eat that fried egg again—no matter what.
"Just wait a bit longer," I say as I gently rub my own stomach.

Blackbeak Mask

For breakfast I had a juice pouch I had lying around.
End of list. I don't need a fancy hotel breakfast or anything,
but it's been forever since I've started the day
off with more than bare minimum.
For lunch I had a box meal and a salad from the
convenience store. I don't even really like salad,
but I figure it's probably good for me. I always look
forward to seeing if there are any new bottled teas for sale.
For dinner I had the cheapest thing on the menu at a place
near my house that's open late. I honestly don't even
remember what I ate—I just picked based on the price.
And that's everything I ate on my last day alive. I was seeing
black birds everywhere since dawn so I figured luck probably
wasn't on my side, but I never thought today'd
be the day I die... Wish I ate that ice cream I had in the freezer.

Hope for the Future

The plan proceeds apace.
If anything, the difficult part was finding a place where
I could have all the time and medicine I needed.
I had to hide everything...
My husband found out about my plan.
He didn't even flinch when I pointed my weapon at him.
Instead, he embraced me.
When his warmth enveloped me, I realized I was crying.
The product is complete.
As I stare at the finished drug, I tremble with fear and excitement.
This drug is named both salvation and destruction...
It will change the world.
I've decided to halt the project.
We love too many things too dearly to use the drug.
I am a coward, and I leave the decision to the future.
Now, let us return to our precious, idle days.

Type-127 Sword

Special report to all Pod 006s:
A magnetic storm has occurred on the surface of the moon
near the base.
Please verify the integrity of your saved data.
Report: Integrity of all data within jurisdiction confirmed.
No apparent problems detected.
(Wait a moment—part of the data was inverted by the storm.
I reported no problems, but the other Pods might notice...)
Report: Concluded my personal scans. No anomalies detected.
(For whatever reason, black data has been flipped and is now
white. The primary scan reported no problems, so perhaps the
changes are insignificant.)
Query: Are three checks necessary? Don't we all possess the
same thought processes? (And yet...I've detected an unexpected
payload, though I can't pinpoint where.
Could it be a benevolent force? Or will it become a threat?)

Ashen Pact

How much longer must I keep up this pointless routine?
I waste yet another day performing
my rounds in a perfunctory fashion.
Why does she hide why we're here?
I waste yet another day unable to confront her,
instead sticking to superficial conversation.
What is it that pushes me forward despite knowing my effort
will amount to nothing?
I waste yet another day following
vague hints in an attempt to unravel this mystery.
How could anyone stay still when all the answers they
seek lie just beyond that door?
And that is why today will be the day I finally...