- 1 Main(主线)
- 1.1 1-1
- 1.2 1-2
- 1.3 1-3
- 1.4 1-4
- 1.5 1-5
- 1.6 1-ZR
- 1.7 1-7
- 1.8 1-8
- 1.9 1-9
- 1.10 2-1
- 1.11 2-2
- 1.12 2-3
- 1.13 2-4
- 1.14 2-5
- 1.15 2-D
- 1.16 2-7
- 1.17 2-8
- 1.18 2-9
- 1.19 V-1
- 1.20 V-2
- 1.21 V-3
- 1.22 V-4
- 1.23 V-5
- 2 Side(支线)
- 2.1 3-0
- 2.2 3-1
- 2.3 3-2
- 2.4 3-3
- 2.5 3-4
- 2.6 3-5
- 2.7 4-1
- 2.8 4-2
- 2.9 4-3
- 2.10 4-4
- 2.11 4-5
- 2.12 4-6
- 2.13 4-7
- 2.14 4-8
Her first impression was that she'd awakened to a cloud of glass butterflies.
"How pleasant," she thought, "that these figures can move as well. Where are the strings?"
She sat onto her knees, fixed her dress, and found that there were no strings, and these were not
butterflies. Glass shards, flying on their own. "Delightful!" she felt, and so she said it.
The glass reflected another world than the one in white surrounding her. In it she could see reflections
of seas, cities, fires, lights; she rose her hand to scatter them, and laughed in joy.
She didn't know these pieces of glass had a name: Arcaea.
To tell the truth, they were so beautiful that it didn't matter the name.
She entertained herself by touching them, swirling them, watching them. That was enough, no?
There were six questions to ask: who, what, where, when, why, and how.
Of these questions, she asked none and desired no answers, content instead to bask in the glow of Arcaea.
This was her meeting with a new world.
But questions come inevitably.
The girl stands amidst the spiral of glass and wonders, "But really, what are these?"
Portals? Windows? Memories?
This last answer, "memories", strikes a chord with her. "They're memories," she says, faintly. And like that,
her questions stop.
For some reason, this is a place all full of memories. Whose memories, or of what, she can't tell for certain,
but her questioning has already ended.
For some reason the glass follows her. She can't hold any of it, but it comes to her nonetheless. On a whim,
she decides she will begin gathering it.
Piece by piece.
For no reason at all.
Without a clock, she has no sense for how many days or hours she has walked, but there is a new certainty
in her head...
There is beauty in a memory, that's what she finds herself believing. Thinking about it, a memory is never
certain, can change with the times, and yet is the nearest thing to a concrete piece of the past. It can be
bitter or sweet, and she thinks in either case they're quite enchanting.
For now she will see what memories she can, of these other places and people, and appreciate them for
their beauty. In the first place, these Arcaea flicker and glow splendidly in this strange and ruined world.
It's easy to fancy it all, and that they show memories makes it easier.
Humming, hands aloft, and stepping down broken paths, she brings what seems to be memories fit for an
entire world with her, following behind in a shining stream. Memories of an ugly, pretty world...
"How nice..." She sighs, she smiles, and serenity becomes her, it seems, too well.
But there’s nothing to worry about.
A pleasant, simple world like this need only be pleasant. Nothing more.
A joyous landscape. For so long, she has walked through a ruined yet beautiful world, finding things and
For so long she's traveled shepherding glass that the sky has become a mirror bending light as far as she can
see, and shaped almost geodesically. The fantastic and glittering roof never leaves her, and with her
surrounded by only fancies and goodness, the world has become endless bliss.
She traipses down a spiral staircase that once led into a manor, but the walls have now all fallen and
memories replace them. It is all the better: she leaps out ahead and dashes the memories everywhere,
basking in sparkling Arcaea that, when she finds them, float up to join the others in her artificial sky. So
enraptured now, she laughs with cheer.
A flower, a kiss, a love, a birth: a life followed by a new life in a river of glass flies past her eyes and blends
into the rest. She has seen this reflected countless times, and it still pleases her.
She gazes at the wall above. As they’ve come together, they’ve grown more vibrant.
She smiles, satisfied, before she wanders on again. And, as ever, heedless of all consequence.
They say that this is true: anything in excess is a poison. She either didn’t know, or hadn’t cared.
The girl now walks past what seemed to have been an old concert hall, the impact of its grandness dulled
as it had been split perfectly in twain, as if some higher power had willed it so. Out of the tomb of sound
drift memories again: of dances, of performance, hopes, victories.
Her mouth twitches. Has it simply become boring, or is this something else? She lifts her hands and the
Arcaea come to her, gently weaving over her palms and through her fingers. Blankly she notes them. How
many times has she seen the last hurrah of a retiring band? How many times has she seen two brothers
embrace? Too many times she’s seen the formation of a love, so frequent it was apparently standard in old
and forgotten worlds.
She lets the memories go, and genuinely thinks nothing of it.
They rise. They fly to join with the memories she’s still been gathering, and she looks at their destination
now. It’s grown much brighter since she began her collecting. It seems to grow brighter every day…
How many days has it even been? She winces, and a grimace twists onto her face. She shakes it away.
Maybe she only needs more, then whatever is missing will be found. She calms herself and carries on, not
letting it bother her that no matter what, she cannot push the Arcaea following her away.
“Heaven” is a kind of hell.
The truth is, idle peace and thoughtless pleasure are anathema to passion. Imbibing and imbibing of happy
things endlessly dulls the senses and makes “happiness” indistinct, blurred, and ultimately without
purpose. Now nothing has a purpose. She’d never had a purpose.
The sky is almost blinding.
She may be wandering, or she may be standing still; she isn’t sure and it doesn’t matter. The sky she’s made
has her attention, but the memories within it can’t be sorted out.
It has all become an opaque and overpowering haze compelling emptiness. She is losing her self.
And as she is losing her self, she remains numb to the encroaching dissolution. Though she did not
remember, she invited this pleasurable and suffocating cage, and she locked herself within it. Now she
lacks even the will to worry.
The sky grows brighter and she loses more of herself. With little time for her left, she stares upward as if
waiting. Bright, bright, bliss, beauty above: effulgent memory overtakes her.
Her mind whites out.
And, without meaning, light fades away.
Without meaning, time passes.
And a girl stares up into an empty sky, her mind ended, and thus her story along with it.
The girl is on her knees, her chin brought up, and it is soon that her jagged and pervasive creation will
consume her in its light coaxing oblivion. Above her it pulses and glows, gentle but insufferable. She lets it
nearly take her, thoughtless.
And from that vast nothingness, something catches her eye.
Distinction alone breaks her from the lull of uniformity, and her gaze swings to it: a single, special piece
of glass, just a bit red, and absolutely noticeable. Perhaps in reality or through a trick of her mind, the
rest of the sky that it begins emerging from dulls in its intensity. She thinks, it’s becoming easier to see.
She thinks, and realizes she hasn’t thought at all in ages.
The heavens wobble and distort, and a crack seems to run through them, the whole thing twisting around the
creation of a new memory: a shard of memory that should not exist. It breaks from the whole, and breaks
Both violently and calmly the roof of her making falls down, choking the air in scattering light. The spectacle
would be magnificent to her, but she remains stuck on the newest piece, which floats toward her amidst
the frightening chaos of joyous memories.
It, too, is a memory of joy: that of herself that she has forgotten.
“When was— Did I—?”
She speaks in a fractured voice, her vocal chords having been long neglected of use.
Now in her hands, the odd shard that came from zero revolves, and in it she sees the time when she awoke,
dancing alongside glass, traveling the mirror world, and happy. Tears fall from her eyes, and she remembers
that happiness left her long ago.
Twinkling glass pieces fall in an unevenly timed rain while reflecting dead worlds as they always do. The girl
at the center of it all focuses on a piece reflecting something new, however, and of this world still existing.
Tears fall from her eyes, but the reason is yet grasped by her. Her mind still recovering, she agonizes over
the loss of everything she had before, falling all around her. But, also, she agonizes over the loss of her zeal.
The memory reflected shows a better and ignorant time, as she walked into a trap she’d created for herself.
Even if she knew where it would lead — these shiftless travels inviting senselessness — would she have
done it all again, just to be happy?
The red in the glass is that of the red in her clothes, and she grasps the shard tightly to add the red of her
hand to it, blurring past and present, running warm over the shimmering surface. She feels, again, but she
feels so much more than before. She feels, overwhelmingly, regret.
These were times that, almost with pride, she had moved meaninglessly. She had gathered the Arcaea to
enjoy them,and not thought even a bit as to why. She had brought on herself a torturous and tedious
hedonistic existence,a manufactured and blinding prison. She had done it all for nothing, and nearly lost
And to a question of “Why?” there was never an answer. Just to be happy? That hadn’t been it either.
Collapsed on her knees, choking through cries with the memory over her breast, she knows the weight of
her errors. She had surrounded herself in love and life so much that it came to disgust her, and that truth
In grief the girl cries, thinking as much as she can, about everything that has happened, and what anything
A few small pieces of old times falling down intermittently break this, but the girl’s anguish has settled.
She no longer openly weeps, sitting among shimmering glass with dried tears on her cheeks and dried
blood in her hands. Fear, worry, and regret have ended, so she now has to look out ahead.
What she had done was misguided. It was, in fact, not guided at all. With the idea of “more happy scenes
would only be better”, she had filled the sky with good memories, not wondering if there might be any
danger in bringing so many of the mysterious shards together in one place. She realizes now that they had
threatened to swallow her.
If she wants to press on, she must have a reason.
She needs to answer those old questions that she had forgotten. What does this world mean, and why is
she in it? Why are gentle memories attracted to her, although she sometimes saw flashes of hardship in
pieces that refused her? Who was she?
Light comes back to her eyes and she stands on shaking legs. As she does so, the Arcaea surrounding her
shift. She looks on at them curiously, and lifts her hand. They lift too, and she ponders. She realizes this is
different, but that there’s also something different within herself.
The Arcaea will not come to her unbidden again, and she will not allow herself to be caged. She wipes
away her tears with the back of her bloodied hand, and lets the shard that has turned her onto this new
path go to follow behind her. She will let that be a memory, and face this strange world anew, and she will
find all that it is for, be it good or bad.
This she swears, and she is certain.
She'd awakened in a ruined tower, first noticing pieces of glass floating in the air. They led her outside, and
into a world of white.
White, white, and more glass. It seemed attracted to her, so she examined the shards with piqued curiosity.
She could see glimpses of something else in them, like looking through the windows of a train car. In one
flash she saw rain, in another sunlight, and in another death. She grimaced, and pulled away.
Although it seemed attracted to her, at her attempts to reach out and shatter the glass the shards were
naturally repelled. Her grimace deepened into a glare, and she turned her attention to the pale sky.
However, as she gazed into it, her expression melted away. Her mouth opened, but she was too shaken to
Glass: churning, glinting, and turning far overhead. There seemed to be a storm of it.
She regretted giving it attention, as now it seemed to notice, and was coming down to greet her.
It's difficult to describe that sensation which overwhelms her now. A riptide of glass that doesn't shatter,
cut, or reflect her face, pushing past her in powerful amounts, turning up and swirling as if pulled by a great
wind. She stands fast, and watches.
Watches... ...Memories...? ...Of a filthy world.
"What is this...!?" She reaches out. "This...!"
A memory of pain, betrayal, envy.
When she stops it, she stops the rest. They stand still in the air around her, frozen. She whips her head this
way and that. "They're only..."
Dark? Are they only dark? Wherever it is these shards reflect... she sees little light there. Whatever small
sparks she sees fade away in an instant. She bites her lip, and then smiles a smile with no humor. "What
kind of joke is that?" she mutters, "A world filled only with misery..."
As she says this, even her bitter smile fades away.
Without a clock, she has no way of knowing how long she's picked through memories, but she's sure it's
been quite a long time.
For a while, she'd searched the fragments for more happy memories, just to see if they were there. They
were, in small number, but the more miserable shards never ceased to hound her.
So, she's come to know places she now loathed.
She now stands at the middle of a vast spiral of glass that turns about her slowly and resembles cosmos.
She thinks there are two possibilities here: either the world or perhaps worlds these shards envision were
entirely terrible, or since only terrible memories are here...
In any case, she's decided to be rid of it all.
Something inside her has switched. Now when she looks at painful memories, she looks pleased. She
gathers such memories, it seems, gleefully.
"If I can be rid of this trash, or even better the places it represents..."
These places full of chaos and even light.
That will make her happy.
It had been a while, and so she'd grown confident.
In the time since she began she'd explored much of this glass and mirror world, and she'd gathered
countless shards. Like an unending scarf they formed around her neck and trailed long behind her. Now,
she stood atop a fallen tower and looked out ahead with a smile. The terrible memories of other places
twisted behind her menacingly.
She was gazing at a place that had always caught her eye, but she'd refrained from ever going toward it. It
was some sort of distant labyrinth turning into the sky with insane geometry. Of course, it was more glass.
Of course, she could feel its filth pulsing all the way out here.
Although she still had no idea how to go about it, she intended to be rid of the terrible fragments that
followed her eventually. To that end she was gathering them. She at least took comfort in having the bad all
in one place. That would make clearing it away one day all the more easier. This labyrinth was particularly
bad, and she felt confident in gathering its fragments too.
The maze was surrounding by a glittering and ever-shifting sea of good memories. As she made her way
toward the maze, the sea parted, only a few shards coming to join the trail behind her. However, while
walking the path and scattering the good shards she suddenly hesitated. Now flanked by hope, with
despair before her, she chewed on her lip...and her heart wavered.
Once upon a time, surely, things had to have been better.
The girl remembered nothing. and since awaking in the world of glass she'd only ever known other
memories. Because of this, she'd drawn many conclusions and had few second thoughts. She'd been
assured of the idea that nothing in the glass and nothing in this world held any worth. Filth and awfulness,
tears and pain, a small smile, and death.
But once upon a time, things had to have been better. Simple rules are often true: shadows are begotten
from light. Shadow lurked at her back, and now she was surrounded by light.
When she'd stepped into these waves of joy and purity, she hadn't given it a second thought. She'd become
so absorbed in evil that she had forgotten simple good. To be honest it was more than her heart simply
wavering, now. She was overwhelmed. For every glint of hope that caught her eye on the way to the jagged
maze, she paused and questioned everything. There was an answer she did not want to acknowledge,
immersed in this scene of light and chaos. She didn't want to think about it. She wouldn’t allow herself to
think about it.
And, before she really could, she stood before the entrance to the impossible labyrinth.
On impulse, she reached out to the better glass and memories of flowering fields came to follow around
her in a ring. She didn't know why, nor if they would help.
She didn't know it, but she had a name. If she knew it, perhaps she wouldn't have entered the twisted
black maze. It may have been a meaningful name that may have made her doubts much stronger. But she
didn't know, she ground her teeth, and she reaffirmed her beliefs. The light from before would not shake her,
the light of the flower ring would not shake her.
She entered the dark structure and started tearing it apart.
Each wall pulled away was made of misery, each facet held horrors, and the corners were comprised of fear.
This was a castle of iniquity. Simply put, it was grotesque. It was powerfully grotesque.
And that girl, her grin returned. This was it. Climbing through it, running through it, this was the kind of
disgusting monolith that had compelled her into action in the first place. She hadn't been wrong. The glass
should only be shattered. The mirrors should only be destroyed.
And as she gleefully pulled away great swathes of the maze, hallways tumbling into the air, her smile
became warped. She winced; something was wrong with her head. At the heart of the maze, there was
*something* worse than any memory before. She could feel it, close now, calling to her. Her enthusiasm
had drained, and her progress had slowed, and she saw a wicked shard of glass turning in space,
containing the memory of the end of a world.
With a hand on her face, she looked into the mirrored world. She remembered the sea of pleasant realities
below her and the flowers now circling around her. She'd taken down part of the maze's roof and the walls
had subsequently fallen away. Dark glass rained slowly around her, and in the distance the better memories
She looked into the end of the world between her fingers. She swallowed, and with newfound strength,
removed the hand from her face. She reached out, and dragged the end of the world into her collection of
memories. With this monolith toppled, she felt an honest and genuine surge of bliss. However terrible the
memories she faced from now on would be, it couldn’t possibly matter. She was certain now that she was
strong, and she would definitely destroy them all. And so, with a genuine smile and a tired laugh, she came
down from the sky, and the tower along with her.
Perhaps she should have worried, because her heart was suddenly in pain.
She drew back, covered her mouth, and her eyes went wide in confusion. She had been standing on the
floor of a gigantic and bitter maze that doubled as a tower, but she now began to fall to her knees. Before
she hit the ground, the structure began to break and fall first.
The memories of sorrowful days that she had gathered came around her like a cloak, the tower's memories
turned from a falling slow rain into a downpour. She and the maze fell like stones, and although she should
have been terrified to drop so far and so fast, all she could feel was confusion.
She splashed down into a sea of the fragmented happiness of other worlds. The waves she and the crashing
labyrinth caused were immense. Glass pushed against glass in a way that could be described as both ugly
and beautiful, and she knelt at the center of that storm.
She was confused because she was hurting. Everything hurt. Her heart was bursting. The cloak of memories
that she'd collected turned into a grotesque sphere and surrounded her. The world of white disappeared
from her vision, leaving only horrible things. Heaving, sweating, and trembling, she looked into the glass,
into the Arcaea, deeply. And as she came to realize that her heart was breaking,
That her sanity was breaking,
The memory of the end of the world that she'd seen earlier slowly drifted into view.
The girl had felt many emotions since her waking into the white and ruined world. Mostly, she'd felt anger,
but she'd been able to turn that anger into a strange sort of hope. True, she didn't have much of a plan. In
fact, she was only walking forward because she believed at the end of her steps there would be something
good. She had hope. She was certain that this chaos was leading into light. She was certain that the
torments she was facing, that the horrors she was holding, could be completely shattered.
Yes, she was emotional. She felt so strongly that when faced with the idea that no, in fact, nothing had a
purpose...she began to suffer.
The cruelest fate is to have hope and see it crushed before your eyes. And so the girl sat on her knees in a
malformed circle of death, looking at a world coming to its end. This was the first time she had felt the
emotion of sadness, and it was quickly turning into despair. The world of Arcaea was a pointless world. It
was the manifestation of worlds gone. It had no substance, only the reflections of such. Even the glowing
and joyful memories she had sometimes encountered on her way were still only memories of the past. Like
night comes after day, they had to have led into the end she now saw spinning slowly in the air before her.
Her eyes welled with tears.
She had felt so much since waking up.
She'd felt joy. Joy left her.
She'd felt felt fear. Fear left her.
Anger left her.
Hope left her.
Even sadness and despair now left her.
Her eyes went dark and she could feel resonance with the glass. The shell of memories around her began to
crack and split open. She emerged from it and stood in the blinding light, and couldn't feel anything at all.
Like an ocean stained with oil, the memories of a cursed labyrinth and the memories she had brought with
her all fell and muddled into the soothing glass around her. Most of them churned into a gray mass, some
would suddenly jut up from the ground like spikes. She went still, and slowly looked over every shard,
just...counting them. Even when memories came shooting up sharply near her eyes, she continued to count.
Eventually she lifted a finger, beckoning some of the shards toward her. And, with a simple thought, the
fragments came together in the shape of a fragile butterfly. She commanded it into the sky, to reflect the
world of white, and when it came down again to tell her what it had seen, with a simple thought she slowly
tore off each of its wings, and let it fall into nothing. Then, she walked forward from the corrupted sea,
willing each pillar of lost time that entered her path to explode and shatter.
Time passed. She changed.
She no longer sought to collect memories. She walked through the world mostly absently. She discovered
things about it and about herself, but she had no ambitions.
Now she walked beside an old and crumbling building, twirling a parasol she had found in the ruins some
day. Silently, a creature formed of glass reflecting bitter days glided down toward her from the sky. It
resembled a glistening and jagged crow, and it was something she considered no more than a tool. After
that day at the now-fallen tower, she'd become more in-tune with the chaotic Arcaea and was able to call
upon things like this. In its own way, it whispered to her of places beyond her reach in the blinding white
world. Glaring at it, she had it burst and fall apart, and she moved on.
These crows of hers sickened her with news. The world was empty, that's all they said. That she knew.
She'd never find anyone else here.
She wanted to. She needed to. But, it was not because she hoped to have someone to share her fate with.
She needed to let this frustration out on something alive. She needed someone to hurt.
The ruin is as common a sight as any other, but the girl in light
nonetheless pays it attention as she steps through.
She's been wondering what the ruins are and why they're there—
wondering if this world she wanders has a past,
or if its decimated landscape is only coincidental.
She feels she has to think about it, not to succumb to the bliss of ignorance.
If she wants a reason, then it might help to know the world, too.
Perhaps this is a reflection of another world?
She has seen things like it within the Arcaea, but that also makes her wonder if in this place
there might be standing towers and buildings that are not in ruin.
Maybe she’s only yet to see them...
This ruin seems like it was once large, grand.
It must have been a beautiful place where many people came, she thinks.
If it did have such a past, then it is a shame.
There is only her, now, moving through pews and broken candlesticks.
There is only her, and she blinks, seeing that there is in fact somebody else.
Somebody else stands still at her left, before a broken wall.
Once, she would have grinned happily, but carelessly at this person.
As she is now, she looks at the shadow-covered girl in confusion,
but certainly not without a fluttering, insuppressible feeling of elation.
Outside of a memory, here in the world and before her eyes, is a person.
All this time she's walked alone, and here is somebody else:
one other living, breathing person.
The other girl doesn't notice her. She is standing in place, holding her parasol, and sleeping.
Her dark figure cuts so strongly against the rest of the world, which shines so bright in the distance,
that she thinks this must be a dream or perhaps a waking memory.
She opens her mouth to speak, and the other girl opens her eyes to consciousness.
She who heralds sad and evil forgotten things opens her eyes
and witnesses the changed and white-clad girl before her.
That breathing the light-bearer found so relieving stops short,
and the dark girl squints, lips parted as if she means to question.
But she swallows instead and raises her brow, tightening her grip of the handle.
Her own twisted elation flows out from her heart, just as unstoppable, but so much more eager.
It climbs to her face, and the girl of chaos offers the girl of light an honest, irrepressible smile.
In the unwalled, unroofed church, known only by its skeleton chairs and white candles, the girl in black
stands near the remaining old gate, looking at the person she's just met.
It's actually quite simple: she’s been upset for so long, and now a true flesh-and-blood person is finally in
front of her. She isn't thrilled. She isn't even excited. The smile on her face is an effortless lie—but it's one
she can't help but tell. It says to white-clothed girl before her, "pleasure to meet you." It means nothing.
"What's your name?" she asks in a dry voice. Maybe, in the past, she'd have realized how long it had been
since she'd last spoken.
"My... name? I... I'm not sure," replies the radiant girl. "Do you? Oh—know your own... name, I mean... "
She doesn't answer the question. "That's something..." are her only words as she looks off toward an
The girl in white gives a bothered expression.
This... was turning out to be a strange meeting. Though the one in black doesn't know it, the one white
is beginning to share the darker girl's lack of enthusiasm. Like a fire in a sudden chill wind, her hope
flickers and wanes. Now she grows uncomfortable, anxious, and wary. A slight but unshakable atmosphere
drifts between them, one that feels unmistakably off. To her, it seems as though their very meeting is
something the world finds to be simply... "wrong". The ever-present glass, now scattered unevenly
throughout and above the broken grounds, reflects that strange feeling.
Ordinarily, these shards would flock to them without their bidding: "happiness" to the girl in white,
"tragedies" to the girl in black. Right now, every piece of glass in the air stands still. Perhaps half a
hundred mirrors are quietly suspended around the girls, half-catching images of the empty place that
surrounds them. When the girl in white tries to call out to them, they will not even waver. It unsettles her:
happiness placed beside horror, equally glinting and equally motionless. The only piece that will follow her
is the one she can hold—the one that set her free.
She stares hard at the shadow girl. "If we're in this together," she begins, leaning forward, "then what do
you think about staying together? We... We could help each other, and maybe..."
She stops. The other girl is staring into the empty, canvas-like sky with a blank and uninformative
expression. She doesn't seem to be listening, but in truth she has followed every word.
"Maybe... " the dark girl echoes. It's faint... After her reincarnation into misery, her soul itself had felt like
a dull, grim abyss. However, when she heard this proposal, something inside her shimmered—very briefly
and very weakly. However, as she is now, even something as tiny as that was able to pierce the shroud of
frustration that had been endlessly choking her since she'd reawakened.
And the remnant of the girl she used to be, the Tairitsu who had first woken up in this world, rebelled
against the prospect of “the end”—against the idea of giving up. She wanted a second chance.
But her halfhearted answer isn’t enough to inspire confidence in the girl standing opposite her.
Their meeting remains careful, cautious. The Hikari who recently returned to her senses now knows
that the world of Arcaea is far more than pretty—and far less than safe.
And yet the two girls will speak, with the hope that it will lead to something better.
Their conversation continues.
"It would certainly be nice if we had names to share," says Tairitsu in a fraying voice. Her eyes are again
beginning to lose the shine of life.
The other girl, Hikari, notices that with some discomfort. "Yes, I can't say I like to think about it: not having
any memories in a world filled with them," she admits.
At the moment, they sit upon the same pew, though not close. They've gone to what was once the front row,
and a few steps in front of them lead up to a wide, flat floor. The girl in white is slouched, watching her new
acquaintance with worry painting her gaze. The girl in black is examining the empty place in front of them,
the sky, the dead and distant grandiose architecture—but she does so seemingly without concern or interest.
While watching, she begins to speak unprompted. "This glass. Do you know a name for it?"
"Huh? Oh... Well, for whatever reason, I know the name 'Arcaea'."
"Same as me," says Tairitsu, now looking Hikari's way. "So, how are we different?"
Hikari offers an apologetic smile. "I don't know," she says, "aside from our difference in looks."
"Let's find out, then. What kind of memories do you see in the glass?"
"Almost only pleasant ones."
Tairitsu sighs. "Then we're opposites..." she remarks bitterly, looking to her feet. "Let's say we're the only two
walking around this place. If that's true, our opposition could matter a great deal.”
"You don't see happy memories through the Arcaea?" asks Hikari, leaning slightly toward her conversation
partner. "I'm sorry..."
"...That's just how it is," says the other girl. For a short while they remain silent, until Tairitsu speaks again.
"But from what you've said... I suspect even your pleasant memories haven't resulted in a happy life for you
here. Well? Am I correct?"
To this, Hikari nods. "I don't mean to make it sound as though I've had it rough since waking up, but...
You see, I once gathered enough piece that they could cover the sky. When I did, that new sky almost
killed me... I felt like the light was slowly eroding my mind... I think it was mainly my own fault, to be honest."
They both feel it's best to be honest.
After Hikari tells of her naive and dangerous journey bathed in light, Tairitsu coldly recounts her tragic
struggles through maelstroms of dark. The two are certainly different in quite a few ways, but one definite
commonality becomes clear between them: a want of sense in a senseless world. The world around them
may be beautiful, but it has also been cruel.
Hikari has resolved herself, but it wasn't long ago that her very "self" had been threatened by this strange,
unfeeling place. For Tairitsu, it has left her scarred: persistent, panging compulsions toward violence and
wrath continue to roll up from within her like tides. Even throughout their discussions here, despite her
desire to be amicable, smothering each urge from her breast has been no easy feat. This living, breathing
person beside her is too enticing a target to release her frustrations on. The girl in white doesn't fail to
notice how the girl in black's hold on her umbrella periodically tightens into a trembling, aggravated grip.
It hasn't been easy—a fact that holds true for the both of them.
But they continue to fight.
"I think I just... I really wanted to meet somebody else," Tairitsu reveals. "Even... perhaps a few months ago,
that may have been all I really wanted. However... ever since I stepped out of that black shell, I've found it
difficult to hold on to a such an innocent desire. I just can't muster it. When my chest isn’t feeling empty,
I can't muster anything in it that isn't vile and wicked impulse. Disgusting, broken thing..." She looks at
Hikari. "Even now, I keep thinking about how much I want to hurt you."
"That's fine..." says the other girl. "Maybe I'd feel that same way if I’d gone through everything that you did.
But I don't think you’re right about one thing. I don’t think your heart is as broken as you feel."
Tairitsu meets her eyes, as if asking how that could be.
"Look—you're holding back," explains Hikari, "even now. That tells me that even after everything, you're a
very good person—still. You’re strong." She smiles and stands from her seat. "You're a lot stronger than me,"
she says, casting a momentary glance into the brilliant sky.
"I was rescued," she continues, meeting Tairitsu's eyes once more. "You rescued yourself."
The shimmer inside the dark girl's chest becomes a faint glow, and an ache pulses through her.
That's not true, she thinks. It isn't that simple, she thinks. She failed, and the old her died that day when
the labyrinth collapsed. She'd felt nothing after that, and when feeling came back to her, it was nothing but
contempt. When she’d met this girl, even, it made her want to do nothing more than take a blade and run
No, she hasn’t rescued herself. However... perhaps she hasn't simply been seeking someone out to harm.
Perhaps the truth is that she’s been awaiting something impossible to give her one last ray of hope.
Hikari is too meek and unsure to directly comfort her, but her presence and lack of aggression signal this:
she may be that last, fledgling ray.
What pains Tairitsu's heart is that very innocent realization.
Her posture weakens. Hikari notices and moves to see if she can do something. But she is still unsure,
and so she is ultimately unable to reach out for the other girl. She stands before Tairitsu with her arms
half-raised, and in a few moments the girl in black stands by herself. Hikari drops her hands, and takes
a step back. Around them, the glass sways with their movement, and one in particular begins to shine a
bit differently from the others. In its reflection is something familiar, yet impossible.
It is a vision that, surely, nobody could have seen:
the briefest wicked flicker of a most strange and anomalous memory.
They stand apart, Tairitsu holding a hand over her chest, fingers clenched and struggling as she takes heavy
breaths. She is reinvigorated, in no small part thanks to the girl in white. Hikari has given her one precious,
final reassurance. It does not have to be the end. One last path out of this white and blinding hell still exists.
An open, albeit weak, smile cuts along her face as she exhales. "Let's do something," she says. "Let's figure
out this stupid, absurd world."
"I-It's not that stupid," says Hikari in mild protest, smiling herself with just as little strength. She isn't entirely
positive about the other girl, but she can tell at least one thing: despite appearances, she isn’t evil.
Quite the opposite, it seems. If anything, that alone is reason enough to join hands with this new potential
ally. A "good" person... is not exactly how she'd readily describe herself, after all.
However, while she thinks this, Tairitsu’s mood turns. "What makes you say that?" asks the panting girl,
though her delivery of the question sounds much more like an accusation. Her eyes are almost hollow as
they bore coldly into her opposite. "You might understand it even better than me. This is the kind of place
that would break a girl for the audacity of surrounding herself in pleasures and joys." She stands up
straight, calms her breath, and steadies her gaze, bringing the hand over her chest to the handle of her
parasol. "That's unconscionable. You don't agree?"
Her strength of conviction puts the other girl down for a moment, but Hikari is no longer one who is incapable
of any caring. Gathering a modicum of confidence, she stands up straight herself, and delivers her explanation.
"We're alive," she says, "and if a world can permit that, then it can't be the worst thing."
"Hah...?" The other girl's glare intensifies. "No... If a world can permit life, only to plague that life with ills
and grief, then that world is not just."
"W-Well, maybe not, but—"
"But?" demands Tairitsu.
"But that's shortsighted! What is it that you want to do, exactly?"
"Destroy everything. The world, the glass, all of it. I'll find a way. It's only fair, right?" she explains as a
matter of fact. "I would think you'd resonate with the idea. What has this world been for you other than
an expansive prison?"
"Destroy it...? Even... Even if you could, it would only end everything! This is the only world we know of
that exists for certain, isn't it? If we somehow destroyed it, could we not simply destroy ourselves as well?
Would you... You’d rather die than live here? Why, that's... that's ridiculous!"
"No, that's fine," says Tairitsu simply.
Hikari, not expecting that answer, falls silent. Tairitsu's words were too frightening, and far too sad.
In her silence, Tairitsu continues her interrogation. "Do you have some other idea? Some other plan?"
"No... I don't. I wanted to find—to find a plan with you," admits the other girl, and dismay is clear in her tone.
And Tairitsu, in her recent recovery, recognizes this. It makes her pause. It had been too easy to lash out
at this new acquaintance. She knew she wasn't being reasonable. Indeed, having just found herself with
burgeoning hope again, she could clearly see how cold she’d been until their meeting. And yet, when faced
with another’s hope, she'd attacked. Truly, was she that petty? In the past, this conviction of hers has never
brought her satisfaction or peace, much less resolution. No, her willfulness has only ever led her down a
dark, thorny path stained with gloom. With this in mind, she extinguishes the fire rising in her heart that
had been so sure of its need to burn. If she wants to take this girl's hand... she cannot reject the ideas it holds.
"I... I'm sorry," she apologizes, her passion now fully relinquished. She lowers her head for a moment.
"I... feel the same. I want to work to find something new as well."
Hikari regains a bit of her self-assurance, which had been brought low before Tairitsu. She tells her new
friend, "It's alright. You've had a time here I could probably never understand."
But that righteous fire in Tairitsu's heart had been just enough.
Ultimately, it had only burned for a short moment, like a flash—
but it was enough to rile a dormant shard in the flock of glass around them.
It awakens and, on its own, begins to drift down to where they are, still unseen.
"Don't lose hope," says the girl in light. "Things can always get better."
A shard, shimmering with faded color, comes directly between them.
It catches both their attention—but it will only show its memory to the one clad in black.
The girl adorned in shadows peers through the broken window into another time.
Her smile returns.
What a fool she was.
Not the girl in white, no.
The vision in the glass is no memory.
It cannot be, of course.
What she's seeing is a future: a future that she should have expected,
the fool, the idiot dreamer.
The glass shows an unmistakable image of herself, run through with a jagged pillar of glass,
the wound seeming to sear her clothing and body apart in a blistering, pale, and consuming flame.
The blank, barren lands of Arcaea stretch out far behind her, and before her,
coaxing the pillar with a lifted hand and a blinding, fiery glow around her shoulders,
is a girl clad in white, a very familiar one, though her expression is hidden from this vantage.
It is the girl standing before her now.
The one she has only just met.
This is no memory: it's a vision of what will come to be.
Faced with this, Tairitsu retreats into herself,
and confronts the one truth she was determined to ignore.
Her conviction didn't matter.
She will never find anything good for her in this world.
That last hope is dyed black now, drowned in despair, forgotten.
What else would happen?
What was her hope for?
Idiocy. Tiresome, blind idiocy.
Tiresome, awful, sick of it. Sick of this, sick of herself,
sick of everything in this never-ending, mocking play.
She'd said it herself. This world is hell.
And she knows this, from the fractured ideas of worlds dead and gone:
even angels can one day fall and awaken to demonic form.
The girl in light is just like that.
In a turn final and damning, what was once a mere pit inside her chest is clawed and spread.
It wastes, decays all through in an instant, leaving instead a cold and endless chasm.
As the darkness within it creeps out to coat her insides and choke her thoughts,
she sees Hikari very clearly.
Sees her gaze darting to the shard—sees the panic, the clear knowledge in her eyes.
The girl knows.
And now she can't face her opposite's stare,
won't say a word though she sees clearly.
You're unnerved? Unsettled? Unabashed.
That anger twists into hate and loathing, spilling over and arriving in her eyes.
Wicked betrayer; wicked, wicked place.
She tightens her grasp on her parasol,
looking past the shard to Hikari, who is standing still.
Frozen in place, surely, because her ill intentions have been exposed.
It's worth laughing about.
Tairitsu's eyes narrow, and she excises the remains of those burgeoning emotions
the girl had begun to cultivate within her.
With finality she is emptied,
and with that, she knows what she must do.
But this mirror is still one-way, and thus her anger as well.
Hikari is unable to see within this peculiar shard at all.
Unaware, she can only watch in confusion
as Tairitsu's countenance drains more and more of color.
A sense of danger wells up in her, and though she can't understand why, she can feel it there.
In fact, shadows now seem to be crawling up from the earth, light perishing at their touch.
Darkness nears her, and her breathing shortens. She takes a step back.
She almost can't believe it. She certainly doesn't want to.
Even after surviving the harrowing ordeal, that blinding light sky,
something terrible faces her again without reason.
But still, she had survived it.
And now she knows for certain that survival may not allow compromise.
With this thought in heart and mind, Hikari makes a damning mistake.
She reaches for the one piece of glass,
the one that gave her comfort and direction in the midst of her lowest moment.
When she raises it to her chest,
the hairs on the back of Tairitsu's neck rise up as well.
Fear pulsing through her, along with a conviction to never meet with tragedy again,
Tairitsu closes the distance to Hikari in an instant, without warning,
ready to once and for all firmly grab hold of her life.
Another awakening, and her first.
Each one awakens in the world of memories with nothing in her head. She is no exception.
However, as light filters through her cornea the sensations that grip her are unusual. Her heart stirs first,
passionate, and she almost snarls at the building frustration. She grips the clothes over her stomach, and
thinks her ears might be deafened. Her eye squints involuntarily, and she realizes with that that she only has
a single eye rather than two. She feels around her face.
She coughs, and pushes herself up. What she felt through her glove was something almost soft, surrounding
something very solid in the place of her right eye. She realizes she’s wearing gloves. Looking over her body,
she wonders why she’s wearing these clothes. She wonders next why she knows what clothes are at all.
She had been sleeping against a wall, and upon an inspection of her surroundings sees that there are three
others to make a four-cornered place around her, and every one of them is in extreme disrepair. Looking up
she sees that there’s no roof, and questions why it is she’d expected to find one in the first place. In fact, she
recognizes where she is... vaguely. She trudges along the wall she’d slept against until she finds one she can
step over. As she clears the bricks, she notices that they are entirely white. Looking up, she sees that it isn’t
only this wall, but the entire world that’s white. It is an infinite landscape of an old, defeated, human society,
or rather a pastiche of several societies. It’s bizarre... Moreover: it is bizarre she finds it bizarre. Why?
Before she even stumbles upon any reflective glass, she has already bet on tens of theories behind what
she’s seeing, and who she is. Even that she is alone, and that she doesn’t know her name, tells her much
about the potential truth.
And, over time, she finds more reason for one theory in particular.
She was born with conviction and curiosity. The world of white presents questions but no answers. Days
pass, and there are no answers within the ruins. Weeks pass, and there are no answers within the glass.
Indeed, the world is full of glass, taunting always with views of other, more vivid and varied places. Echoes,
imprints of something real, exactly the world itself, so full of what must be copies of human invention.
After two months, though it could be more, she feels she has seen enough to believe something, and
While atop a broken stairway someplace far away now from where she’d awakened some time ago, she
gazes at an undulating and segmented portion of the sky: a seemingly broken window to nothing, crafted
from over a hundred shards of Arcaea. She becomes sure of herself in this moment. She can bet her
judgment is the truth.
But it’s not enough, and never enough. It can’t be settled with speculation.
So she vows: this realm is a mystery, telling nothing and offering little, so she will solve it and find its reason.
As the only being of this realm, it seems, this will be her first duty.
And as she fully accepts the Arcaea...
So too do the Arcaea fully accept her...
...as a vast and seemingly endless archive, not only to be read, but to be lived through.
It’s early evening. Outside, the twilight amber flowing out from the sun tries to slip by without pause, but
the devices within the surrounding meadows catch and spool it, changing it to rays more similar to what
might be cast from the moon.
The party has a certain atmosphere. Though there are no eyes without the manor, the fact is that
maintaining an image is paramount to those of upper echelons. She knows this, all of this, innately. Sitting
in a darker place, with sunlight captured and held at ceilings and staircases presently beyond her reach, she
considers the implications of this knowledge in calm and in silence.
She looks up from her wine glass. The fiancé (dressed very well, almost stuffily, but in casual posture) is
standing before her.
“There isn’t actually wine in that glass, is there?”
She looks at it through her one proper eye. She answers: “It’s cider... Donovan.”
“Good,” he says with a smile, looking out toward the rest of the room. She looks at his expression blankly.
He smirks. ”Mum and the rest say a little wine is good...” he says, glancing at her again. “It’s a load of
nonsense, I tell you. Have you ever seen a drunk man?”
She thinks, wincing. “I haven’t.”
“Well then, let it remain that way.” He chuckles, then turns away. “I’ll go speak with Morgan. Join us
whenever you like.”
She nods, and Donovan moves to their mutual childhood friend near the fireplace.
As always, images need to be maintained. The fire throws its light only a few feet out from the pit before the
threads of it are wound away, stored into lanterns on the floor. The rest of the room is dark, but comforting.
It’s a setting to relax within. A few lanterns above give just enough illumination for reading, seeing each
other’s faces, and the spread of carefully selected portions of food along with bottles of drink. Just outside
the room, through half-glass walls, an almost untame scene of wildflowers, stones, and streams is dimly
visible: wrapped in a midnight blue, almost like satin. There are twenty guests at the party, half in this room,
the rest in the halls or somewhere in other studies—perhaps the library. This is as much as she knows.
She drinks her cider, tastes it. She notes that it has a taste at all, not having had much experience with cider
herself. She recalls something about a better taste and sensation, but in the moment now she is compelled
to focus on the burn along her tongue. Overall: quite unpleasant. That is her determination.
She puts the glass down on the fanciful doily of the short table beside her. She sits, listens, and watches,
touching the flower petals blooming from her other eye rather absently.
She hears Donovan say, “But to think they’ve done so much already. When I first heard of the idea, I was
sure it wasn’t possible.”
“Well, Charles is quite sure it is,” says another of the guests—not Morgan, but Nathalia.
“Astounding,” Donovan grants, running his fingers through the top of his hair.
“A whole entire world, made by human hands,” he says. “Mankind is quite something.”
Her eye had wandered to the flickering of a lantern, and now it seeks the expectant husband. She reaches
for her glass and takes a sip; it’s enough to make her remember why she had put it down in the first place.
The matter of a created world is only really a fickle fancy of theirs. They do not discuss it much. They do not
much understand it. What little they might have to say of true interest, she can’t, in fact, properly remember.
Irritating. At times, it even feels to her like they aren’t speaking at all.
The girl grows impatient. She stands and passes out of the sitting room into more lavish, more evening-
themed halls, passing rooms with which she’s familiar, but only vaguely. She explores, finding stretches of
unlit, pitch-black paths, and doors that seem to be locked though their knobs bear no holes for unlocking.
What doors are open show rooms of a few men and women each, chatting too quietly to discern. If they
ever notice her presence, they only look her way a moment before returning to conversation or rest.
She wants to go outside.
The manor has some technological sophistication to it, but is married to its ideals of old “class”. Yes, the
dimming canisters are curious, and the manufactured wilds are peculiar, but what interests her the most
are the light-transforming machines in the gardens. She knows of them, but has yet to see them firsthand.
In a word, she is “curious”.
The humdrum of a social gathering so often repeated that this day feels like a thousand identical others is
not something she wishes to dabble in long. Lives and creations are too fascinating to ever take either for
But as she approaches the doors to the front driveway...
As her fingers slip upon the wood of the grand handles before her...
She knows, innately, that there is nothing past there, nothing for her. In the entire world, there is nowhere
else she could be. Her place is not in the meadows admiring mechanisms, it is in the sitting room with the
“Outside” is only an idea. A fruitless, ephemeral concept.
That is not a favorable realization.
Dropping her hand she turns and stands below the chandelier, each of its shards showing an image of
somewhere else in the world, at this moment. Shifting, always, and speaking of places she cannot go.
Fading, almost celestial illumination hangs around the fixture, giving this place and that object a too-unreal
quality. Her eye, her lips, say nothing. She trudges back into the mansion, with a small fire of discontent
born within her.
A windstorm scatters petals around terrain behind the walls.
Glints of white and sapphire catch the eye, and the youths of the party speak of the change favorably.
Like magic. Wonderful.
She comes back into the lounge and witnesses the swirl of artificial nature,
the splendor of a farce.
She remembers the first time those flowers were scattered and thinks:
she’s rather had enough of "remembering".
During the past several hours, she’s tested the boundaries.
The windows were locked, the patio doors were barred, and the ventilation ducts were bolted.
The question she had to all this was:
"Are these shut because people shut them, or because I’m trapped in here?"
Metaphor and emotion often swayed the hearts of young girls, she found.
It was difficult to determine the reality.
When she’d had enough of poking, prodding, turning things over, and wandering,
she began to prattle on with other guests she knew to be acquaintances or friends.
"You know, the week before..."
Tedious, and uninformative too.
Certain lines of questions were met with incredulity or with nothing at all,
as if the questions hadn’t been asked—as if she hadn’t spoken.
What she mainly wanted to know about—engineering, technology, progress—
seemed to especially draw out nothing from the other guests.
With her frustration growing, she took to listening in instead, and eventually heard:
"It’s little more than a globe of dirt now. We’ll terraform it soon, I’m told."
And asking about that... led nowhere as well.
That was quite enough to know, however, and so she entered the lounge again.
She stands in it now, watching the storm, and relating to it.
The girl steps past the fiancé, who smiles at her presence.
He greets her with, "Lavinia, you’re back," and she rests her gaze on his lapel.
He takes no particular notice of this.
The players always seem to act in such a way.
What stands out, what’s unusual, is given no mind.
Bolder and bolder she’s gotten, but they remain always steadfast to their routines.
To maintain the image, correct?
She decides to ask, outright, one question she burns to have answered.
"The man-made world... it isn’t made of glass?"
"...Hm? What on...? Of course not, Lavinia. It’s not a bauble."
Her eye goes wide. Her pupil constricts.
Of all the things, that had been it.
Donovan looks over her shoulder and through the walls, saying,
"At any rate, isn’t it lovely? Almost as lovely as you..."
But she doesn’t reply.
Recognizing his answer as confirmation, she settles on a decision.
As the spiral of flowers beyond flow almost serenely through the air,
she moves to the table of foodstuffs, and stops before the breads.
"I’m told the world they’ve made will have shows like this across sprawling, endless valleys.
Right now, it’s only barren. A concept, you know?"
She stops her hand over a handle, listening.
"But it’ll surely be a delight in time, for those who can afford a spot on it.
And think of the potential, Lavinia."
She exhales. It’s been another fruitless trip.
Her hand closes on fine, smoothed wood.
She turns swiftly and steps to the awaiting husband,
swinging her hand out toward his neck.
The bread knife’s teeth stop in his skin.
Without feeling—without even a spark of animosity—she wordlessly cuts across the boy’s throat,
and watches closely to see what comes out.
It isn’t blood.
It isn’t anything.
The gentleman’s throat is cut in what should be an awful way... but the memory lacks a concept of what
“awful” would be. Instead of a shredded, vicious image, his neck now looks akin to torn and crumpled
paper. Inside is not “shadow” but “negative space”: a void inside his body. The edges of the wound flicker
weakly with some white light, and off the blade of the knife she’d used to strike him, vibrant shards float
aloft... simply hanging in the air.
And Donovan can’t comprehend it. Many of the patrons, too, are in awe and horror of her act. People fall,
women faint, and Donovan reaches for his neck. Some men leap for her, pull back her forearm and hold her
at her neck. She grips the knife tightly, and with a dull expression stares into the husband’s bewildered eyes.
While she hardly struggles with the guests apprehending her, she spots behind Donovan a girl in absolute
hysterics on the floor. The sound of her voice becomes increasingly distorted, beginning to crackle and
fluctuate in volume. Already, then: the memory has broken.
This wasn’t how it went. Even the most time-changed memories could not be altered so. For a wife to,
unprompted, attack her husband this way during a moment of peace...
She’d hoped to provoke a reaction, and is thus satisfied by this result. Although a few of the other people in
the room are unfazed by the commotion, and some even seem to have lost their faces entirely, alteration of
a memory to this extent is a veritable first. This, at least, has been a success.
The world begins to crack, fractures appearing wherever she can see. Reality afterward looks almost
wrinkled from it.
She says to herself, “Making entire worlds for vacation... Surely there would be better uses for that.”
She lets go of the bread knife and sighs, seeing how it can’t move from the space where she’d abandoned it.
“Not a peep about ‘memory’, ‘echoes’, ‘reflections’—importantly, not ‘glass’...”
The room constricts.
“This was another worthless dream.”
The planet divides.
White blears and obscures, briefly flashing everywhere as the image is demolished. In a rush of every
remembered sound contained in that recollection, in that slip of glass, she stands with her eye shut until
luminescence and noise fade. She opens her eye to faintly glittering empty space, her mind twists, and after
another wave of effulgent pain she sees again the world with which she is both most familiar, and most
The world of white and ruins. The memory-shaped realm of Arcaea.
“I’d had a good feeling about this one,” she mumbles, watching the rotation of a shard just above her palm.
“But it wasn’t responsible for this world’s creation, and it was almost empty to boot. Hmph. If I can watch
them, let me remove them too...”
She dismisses the glass, not looking as it returns to the space where she’d found it: a glinting, sharpened
river flowing above the ground. The girl named Saya stares off into the plain horizon, stepping forth while
touching her lip absently, and reviewing the events of the recent memory, comparing them all to the wealth
of a thousand others.
“In these other places, humans can act as gods.”
That is what she learned.
The girl with a flower in her eye closes the book of that memory in her mind. It hadn’t been completely
worthless, only mostly.
It had frustrated her at first: the world she had visited was one she had quickly deemed frivolous, but the
frivolity revealed something important to her about the potential of mankind. Still... for now... that wasn’t
More than theories on “how”, theories of “why” compelled her onward. This had been another of her
journeys out through the ruins of the world in a scattershot hope of discovering that answer, or to even
brush against it tangentially. That was always her focal drive, but a secondary one had been made manifest
after she’d witnessed about two hundred of the memories.
“It didn’t have anything new for a potential reconstruction,” she whispers, beckoning a shard from a nearby,
sparse stream of glass, “but I suppose it’s good that it had some sort of value.”
She lets the gleam of the new piece catch her eye, and she scrutinizes the vision of the past it offers,
muttering absently, “Almost home...”
She carries the fragment over her palm, crossing a bridge with which she’s become very familiar. On her left
is a haphazard pile of what once might have been cities, on her right is a chaotic mass of glass and stone—
recognizable as nothing. She marches the long way back to the place where she was “born”, uncaring of
how many steps it takes.
She takes however long she needs to reach and stop before a place of four fallen walls, between them an
immense sphere of shimmering crystal—an unfinished sphere broken apart, like a cracked shell. Smiles,
tears, deaths, and celebrations flicker in and out its facets. Flowers, plains, deserts, oceans... Animals,
She doesn’t know if she can recreate a world by piecing together memories. She doesn’t even know if she
can truly “connect” them at all by gathering them together like this... But she can try.
She squints lightly to the gleam of the new piece she’s brought. “Let’s see how much you can show me,” she
So it opens, and the girl fades into a new time. In short order, she sees a world brimful with artificial glow,
crowded by endless and nigh-infinite towers of man reaching through clouds of an evening sky, and dark
vehicles roaring through the air. An unpleasant atmosphere flows into her lungs. Cacophony fills her ears. As
she assumes an identity, assumes a new past, she looks on, unmoved. A hundred questions rise in her
mind... She will have them answered. No matter what that takes, no matter what needs to be done.
An endless day could be dull. Spending too long under an overeager sun—anyone would start to yearn for
Even for her, that sentiment holds true.
"Eighty days of light?"
"Seven months of light?"
"A year... maybe..."
The white of the sky has once again broken through the cracks in the walls of this place she calls home,
and it seems her sleeping body had found the rays while rolling over the floor.
She grumbles, "Turn it off already..."
But still, she picks herself up.
Still, she rubs her eyes and stretches her arms.
She stands and finds the door, ready to face another "day" in the seemingly boundless world of Arcaea.
An adventure that hasn't always been a delight, and travels that haven't always led to discoveries.
Despite that, ever since she'd first awakened a tabula rasa, two things have always remained consistent:
both her heart and the sky have always been shining.
"Alright...!" she says under her breath. "Some exercise first!"
She holds out her hand before her and a section of glass flies her way.
Not memory glass—
It is an ordinary, typical sheet, albeit a large one. When it spins close, she jumps onto it,
and immediately calls another.
The home she found is an old beach house on a lonely island apart from the abandoned mélange-cities
found everywhere else in the world. It's a beach without an ocean, houses scattered around its shores like
abandoned shells; and deeper inland is a field of strange, gigantic poles of white wood. The homes have been
picked apart over time, from within and without, in her tampering. Now she whisks away their walls and
windows to create a makeshift set of stairs—to make a racing track, and then a tunnel. She quickly leaps
and runs through the gleaming passage, if only to give her legs feeling.
All this took was a little acceptance. Days after awakening, it was a simple matter to make the world of Arcaea
bend to her whimsy.
But far below her, just above the sands of the phantom sea, something glints: something sparse and scattered
throughout the water.
Throwing a glance that way, she huffs a breath from her nose, and sports a weak smirk.
The glass beneath her feet bends so easily, but the peculiar glass—the Arcaea—has always been somewhat...
no, absurdly recalcitrant with her. In this world of memories, hardly any recollections will follow her,
and most can only be viewed or visited.
In an almost childish huff, the girl jumps from a crystal platform. Behind her, the structures she's made
all collapse, piece by piece. Before gravity fully takes her, she holds out her right hand, calling for the blanket
from her bed and swirling into it joyously. Then, she calls for something heavy, something soft. In a few
moments after falling, she is caught by a throne of indolence: a hefty, colorless armchair. Thus, she sits,
hanging in the skies above her home, half-gazing at tombstone horizons.
She exhales again; she's pleased, satisfied. Another successful lovely "morning" run. Still looking out to
the distance, her thoughts drift to less pleasant places: to questions about the size of this world, and what
else it might contain. Has she even seen a third of it? Even a sixteenth? It's a too-big place, and there are
too many assorted memories. As she rocks along the windless air, she lets her eyelids drop and she considers
that fact. It's some immense place; it's some old and mish-mash, jumbled place. She feels it probably can't
just be a world of wonders and oddities exclusively meant for her.
She opens her eyes to the bright sky again.
Somewhere, perhaps on the other side of the world, that sky is full of stars.
Under that sky, perhaps other girls are gazing upward and wishing for daylight.
The girl in red grips the front of the blanket wrapped around her shoulders.
Days without end mean it's always a new beginning, and no telling what a journey will hold.
"Hm, but you know..."
She mutters to herself, eased into her flying seat.
"Is there a sun up there, I wonder...?"
She squints at the heavens above, and quietly contemplates.
What makes the light so evenly spread throughout this place?
Until now, her travels have always been forward, so… Why not try upward?
A mischievous smile flashes across her face.
She stands in her chair and drops off the blanket, letting it fall toward the ground. As it drifts drown,
a wooden column launches up past it. She jumps from her chair and grabs hold of the new arrival by a short,
metal bar. With her feet planted against the column's side for security, she gives it a longer glance. It is a pillar,
she knows, used in other worlds to convey power and communications. She puts one foot down on another
bar below, and like that—with one leg and one arm free, far above the ground—she stands boldly on a broken
piece of an old world.
She gazes to the urban and suburban sprawl on the horizon one more time, and then turns her gazing upward.
She can't be sure how far flight will carry her: she knows she'll need a ladder to be safe.
The houses below, hers excepted, start breaking down even more. Panels, bed frames, armoires and windows
glide upward, and the debris she used and let collapse before is torn out of the sand. Everything begins to
amass, surely and steadily, into a defined structure. But the girl is not an architect. Her tower is ramshackle,
slowly building toward the heavens at odd, sharp, and often sudden angles.
Unfortunately, her island is not replete with usable material. After running out, she frowns halfway at her design,
feeling annoyed that it cannot even reach a kilometer into the sky.
Grumbling, she turns her eyes on the horizon again and lifts her palm toward it.
She concentrates, pulls... and nothing happens.
But that's only natural. That is of course.
As powerful and masterful as she may be, she is no god.
She drops her hand in defeat and decides it's time to renovate. Instead of a tower, a spiral set of stairs.
After an hour, and another hour, and another hour, and two more, her work is finally done and she is impressed
with the result. It still looks ridiculous, and more than a little haphazard, but this amalgamation, she is certain,
is much more sensible. She figures she deserves a pat on the back.
With the new formation complete, she wastes no time in beginning her ascent. One by one, step by step, she
rises with her armchair floating close by, ready to catch her should she fall. As the girl makes her way, she pulls
from the bottom of the stairs and sends those steps to the top. Soon after, she finds herself climbing an
ever-building, ever-breaking staircase. Through layers of fog, to the highest point.
The trip becomes a long one, during which she sometimes must have a seat or even sleep through the "night".
And, maybe after what would be four days, heaven comes within her sight. And she learns this: "heaven" is an
immense and impenetrable wall of clouds.
Her progress is halted when a step she sends from the bottom refuses to become the top, stuck on the fluff of
the air and unable to move any further up. She withdraws it and leaves it to hang beside her. And, with a
etermined gaze, she rushes her way up the final flight.
At the top, the girl fans the pieces, panes, and pillars out underneath her for more of a platform, and she lifts
her hands over her head—into the clouds. Here she finds that the white resists her touch, but still she pushes
on, standing on the toes of her boots to see through if she can.
And here, she finds, she cannot.
"Really...?" she wonders aloud.
But in her moment of despondence, something catches her eye.
Out the corner of her right: a glint. In fact, a bevy of glints, dropping from the clouds after she's gone and
She looks, to find a small crowd of perhaps twenty Arcaea—perhaps even more—coming toward her.
And the girl in red realizes.
In these sunless skies of Arcaea, standing on an invented ground, she has found the first group of memories
in this world which are inextricably attuned to her.
On the air, the fragrance of incense.
Resounding, the voices of townsfolk and children.
The atmosphere, light and fresh.
Someone's cooking—baking—and she can taste the savory scents drifting outside and along the streets.
Looking up, she finds a sun hanging bright in an empty and blue sky.
This is a new world of memory, and she basks in the sensations of it, remaining still to take it all in.
It's the memory of an artisan's helper: of a girl in the middle of an errand.
What sort of artisan was the helper an aide to?
The girl with the rose-colored hair hasn't grasped those details yet. But she isn't very interested in them.
"Just look at it...!"
—it's some sort of fantasy.
Mouth agape, eyes glittering, she looks absolutely everywhere. Overhead, colored paper and fabric ties rooftop
to rooftop, evoking the image of frilled power lines. But they give the impression of a festival, as power lines
they are most definitely not. The flagstone streets, red-stone houses, and chimneys spouting black smoke tell
her this is an old-day town, or perhaps city, she stands in now.
Stalls offering curious circle- and sun-shaped necklaces, talismans, and rings of charms dot the walkway,
beside other stalls selling figures of creatures she's seen before in libraries of other memories. The townsfolk
dress, she thinks, a bit similar to her: as if a parade is on, but not one too bombastic. It's a colorful world,
favoring the warmer colors of the spectrum, though splashes of azure decoration arrest the eye here and there.
As the girl starts to wander, she finds performances too, and troubadours teaching, warning, and entertaining
whomever might listen.
She spends some time during her wandering on samples of confections. More than some time, in fact:
as much time as she can without drawing suspicion. And as she wanders and samples, one brilliant red morsel
strikes her eye, and her heart, very much in particular. A strawberry tart, it's called.
She gets her hands on it with the apprentice's coin, takes a bite through its glaze, and with that she is certain of
this shining truth: this place is very lovely. It's incredibly nice! A fantastical world, and one with a notable
appreciation for the more sugary delights of life.
She finds herself particularly happy about this world of memory. Feeling zealous, she quickens the pace of
her steps, leaping forward, gasping, and spinning on her toes or heel as she turns each and every corner.
She must be careful not to run. She thinks, she really must observe every little part of this town closely.
Reading signs posted outside of square buildings, she learns that this is a spiritual place. It's a land that believes
in fairies and spirits; in gods, daemons, and youkai. The performers she sees are performing the "fantastic",
the "strange", the "impossible". Indeed, every one of them is absolutely certain that what they are performing
is magic: "casting spells" by igniting vibrant powders in their hands to flame, smoke, and clouds; "divining fates"
by speaking toward still pools of water and interpreting the ripples within; "communing with other beings",
they say, by manipulating lights before her eyes in a way she can't actually determine the mechanics of
in a glance.
This world is rich and full of belief: it is marvelous, wondrous, and all an unmistakable act.
While strolling down the quaint avenues, the memory itself slowly informs her that every part of this place is
truly performance, artificial, untruth. Deeply valued tradition, but absolutely not truth.
Yet when she reaches the city's outer limits (and the memory's, with any attempts to cross a small barrier
met with resistant reality)—when she gazes out to the verdant hills beyond the low and easy wood fence that
has stopped her; to the few but imposing old oak trees, and the clear sparkle of some distant lake... she
understands, somehow, why one might believe in something even with sound evidence to the contrary.
She herself comes from a strange world of flying glass; why deny the belief that a world like this could be
inhabited by trickster fairies? Why reject the idea of things surpassing nature and logic?
This is the memory of an artisan's helper, and the artisan is a so-called sorcerer who researches the existence of
fantastical things. As the help, the girl she is living through has long known that all his research leads to dead
ends. The purpose, she speculates, is not to really prove anything. It is to embolden one's beliefs and be better
Now the girl in red puffs a joking breath and smiles wistfully. That's a funny idea. With her hand on a post and
wind flowing through her hair, she spots what she knows to be an ancient forest west from here. This is the
memory of completing a simple errand, and perhaps that's why she is unable to travel too far.
But she's sure she will be back in another memory. She thinks this land of artifice, magic, and show very much
suits her, and that crowd of glass she'd come across at the top of the world of Arcaea reflected more facets of
the world than this within its other fragments. With a giddy feeling, she grips at the front of her dress.
It's truly incredible. The smile on her face starts to wriggle anxiously. Somehow, she has never felt exhilaration
quite like this before.
Twenty times? More? She's stopped keeping count.
With that whisper under her breath, she crouches in front on a chest made of unfinished wood, swiping her palm
across the top. A wave of dust rises off of it and falls to the floor. She unclasps the front and opens it up.
Today she is an archivist, exploring one of the old castles in the North, where they had lost land to flooding.
Thankfully, the papers inside this chest were spared from moisture by the chest itself. Hearing the creak of
ancient hinges, her partner calls from another room inquiring about her discovery. "Scrolls from the fourth
era," she answers over her shoulder. She takes one of them and unfurls it, revealing the history of her people's
dealings with the Unseelie.
Stories like these amuse her, especially as she tries to guess at what the previous generations might have
confused for fairies and the like in the past. Yesterday, while working as a storyteller, she had the pleasure of
recounting an old passed-down yarn of the teller's ancestors. Some forefather had once gathered a vast
treasure on a faraway shore. On the return across the lake a sylph rocked his boat with wind, and a passing
naiad capsized it with waves. Afterward, the two shared his fallen wealth. It was quite an excuse for a bout of
But still, she knows it proves nice to think these creatures are around, malevolent and benevolent both.
When her day as an archivist is done and she's returned to the world of Arcaea to rest on the platform which is
now her temporary base camp, she visits the memory of a school instructor and teaches lessons and rules that
would keep any child or adult safe in a world replete with chaotic nature, sudden perils, and careless people.
The context of magic makes these lessons very interesting to impart and to hear. It really is just a joyous and
fascinating place, and she cannot stop visiting. Its people, whose faces become increasingly familiar between
each shard of Arcaea; its places which become engraved in her own memory throughout others; the sounds
and the sights, everything—
It's marvelous, and nostalgic.
When she's been to every other memory she could find in Heaven, when she's explored (as far as she knows)
every part of the land, she at last comes to a bustling, rambunctious festival day—or rather, a night celebration.
It is to give thanks to the gods of birth and harvest, and to dissuade darker spirits.
She spots the townsfolk named Lancaster and Shia, two gentlemen architects, and they've gotten on in years
from the last memory she met them. But they greet her with vigor and treat her to a candied apple, which
makes her happier than anything else. They point to the sky. It lights up in a show of a thousand brilliant colors.
To those gods. To life, and living it.
However, seeing such a wonderful thing… it doesn't strike her. Her heart does not swell; not with wistfulness,
nor the joy of new experience.
She remembers this. She knows why everyone is here.
So, on this final night in these familiar memories, she witnesses the firework sky entirely satisfied.
With tears in her eyes, and a spot of pain in her heart, she finds herself entirely content.
The memories were heartening; they were comforting. She'd spent months within them, and at times, she
would think, "I never want to leave." Still, she knew they had an ending, and she didn't want to see it.
Besides, the future cannot be found within memories.
She returned to the world of white knowing she may never visit those days again. Days gone are just that:
stories told and over, lives and loves finished.
She doesn't regret it. As she slowly descends to the surface, looking up to the clouds that had once called her
there, she knows every moment, every second spent in those memories was worth everything. It's like a
question she never asked has been answered, and so her heart is full.
The sky seems to be falling around her, all the pieces of her temporary home dropping faster or slower
around her, and in her chest, she feels a twinge of emotion.
Thus, the sky, the true sky above, begins to part.
Standing on a window platform, her hair whipping up past her face, she sees the glittering glass above is
standing still, and behind the pieces, a new night sky is entering her sight. One she's never seen before.
The clouds scatter and drop, disappear and dash away, as a sparkling void of shadows takes their place.
This velvet plane, reaching far and darkening, before a deep lavender wave of color spreads out over it,
swaying, glowing. The stars are out. The day is over.
Her heart aches.
She whispers a name, this name for the last time, and she wipes her eyes with the back of her hand.
Her glass breaks through the final thin layer of clouds. The complex, graying landscape reveals itself, to its
This is her new life! She holds out her hand, knowing that someday, somewhere beyond that horizon, she will
find others who will take it. Someday, these hands will do something great.
Until then, she will look ahead.
Living in the present—in Arcaea.