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10 Sep 2023
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Reed: Is this something you experienced firsthand?

You were once an unwitting witness for such an event.

One day, after the professor returned from a meeting with some pretty important-sounding people, your older sister remarked that something seemed off.

"I must check on father, so wait for me patiently".

It started with something that disappeared.

  • Zachery: Her highness, Seth, Mortimer...
  • Zachery: They all did not believe me, Ruby.

Do pardon me, professor...

That day, I did not have the luxury to inspect what the grand library contained firsthand. If you'd recall, I was rather busy wrapping up inheritance matters with her late majesty's attendants.

However, if the majority of our team say that they have not seen the book you speak of prior, then that clearly has to be the case, no?

You must've simply been exhausted from the process of researching her illness post-mortem, professor. You had better take a break and rest.

It's best for your health not to worry so much if you can afford it.

After all, our human lives are so very short.

Or rather, it was like it never even existed in the first place.

  • Zachery: Not even my colleagues believe me now.
  • Zachery: Instead, they've blocked all of my attempts to investigate the matter.

I don't understand, professor.

I've verified that Zennia has certainly kept the expedition's reports safe...
Are you accusing my student of tampering with the documents?

I don't mean to offend the professor, but, Mr. Luis...

My innocence can be easily verified here.

The history of every operation performed on stored records is automatically tracked.
I am sure he already knows this. It's a given that he does...

So why does he question the logs, us, and even our devices instead of himself?

Indeed. Taken to its logical extreme, professor, your thoughtless statements here could be seen as a legal accusation towards the national library's administration.

Please mind your words. Otherwise...
I won't be too keen on having more of my students work under you again.

Everyone wanted to disregard the idea, because it had "absurd" implications.

  • Zachery: His highness was as mild as ever.
  • Zachery: Somehow, he believes we can be impartial about something like this.

While I understand why you hold onto the matter this strongly...
It might be wise to just let it go, at least for now.

Losing our bounds over one little thing is not worth it,
Neither is risking your perfect reputation by insisting on it so publicly.

You are a dear friend, professor.
I would be heartbroken to see you lose any more of the people's respect.

However, if you follow that line of thought to the very horrifying end...

  • Zachery: Mort continued to challenge every word I uttered again.
  • Zachery: There's no end in sight for this ridiculous standstill.

Professor, I could say that I believe you right now.
But that's not what you want to hear, is it?

Empty words of consolation will solve nothing for either of us.

Instead, you want someone to honestly believe what you're claiming...
That everyone who went on the expedition that day, myself included, is mad,
And that you are the only sane one, yes?

Yes.

That my mind and memories are superior should be clear,
And they are also untarnished, unlike the rest.

It is simply a fact we need to accept in order to move forward.

Professor. Are you hearing yourself right now?

This is something no one can honestly promise to do for you, obviously.

Hopefully you won't be offended to hear this from a junior, but...
I think you're taking the worst approach in your attempts to persuade everyone.

You must remember that not even you are above the rules here.

Do you honestly believe it's better to simply shut my mind off and conform?
I'm not a brainless drone like the lot of you apparently are.

Wow, you are... more vicious than usual today!
Well, go ahead. Misinterpret my words and rile yourself up as much as you like.

I simply ask you to have a more open mind if you want anyone to hear you out.
In fact, I'm willing to converse again if you'll do just that!

If not, then... I hope you're content with your choice.

You will begin to consider that reality itself might be crumbling in secret.

  • Zachery: Even Oshen, who's usually ready to trust whatever I say out of ignorance and laziness, didn't seem as eager today.

The way you described it made it sound like you practically flaunted it around, but I DEFINITELY would recall it if you were acting that energetic, Zach!

C'mon, you didn't go senile already or something, didya?

Lady, your wording is a bit...

Oh, it's just jokes between old friends, your highness!
We're all human, and we all make mistakes...

Not even GREAT professors are safe from it, you see?

...You've just made it sound even worse somehow.

Haha, no way! Zach knows that I mean no offense!

Nothing wrong with responding to a joke by a better joke, either.
I mean... to say that they might die if they don't believe you, Zach?
Don't be so paranoid when we are finally in times of peace!

Besides, I am here, so you have nothing to worry about.

Because of what I learned, I stood here, delivering a warning...

As long as I'm around, no harm will come to this world!

  • Zachery: ...Sigh. What friendship?
  • Zachery: How can I believe in that anymore,
  • Zachery: When they deny reality itself to my face?
  • Zachery: Logically, they say, such a thing means that I am the one in the wrong.
  • Zachery: However, I cannot accept that.
  • Zachery: I will always trust myself... that which I know best.
  • Zachery: If not, then what would I have left to trust in this world?
  • Ruby: Father...

But nobody wants to hear of disaster.

  • Zachery: I'm afraid your mother might also start to shift, too.
  • Zachery: If they meet again at the next gathering,
  • Zachery: The topic is all but certain to come up again.
  • Zachery: Knowing Anise, she'll surely be influenced by our ever-so-agreeable Oshen.
  • Ruby: Please don't worry, father! I still believe you as always!
  • Ruby: Even if everybody else doesn't...
  • Ruby: I won't be affected by what they say at all.
  • Ruby: After all, I remember the book too!
  • Zachery: Yes, that book... it definitely disappeared.
  • Zachery: I've never been mistaken about it. It is this world that is wrong.
  • Zachery: And Ruby... you are the only other person in it who isn't like the rest.
  • Ruby: Of course! I will always believe in what is logical.
  • Ruby: If you remember it that clearly, then you couldn't be incorrect about it.

They so desperately wanted to believe in the peace they had earned.

  • Ruby: But father... won't you please take a break now?
  • Ruby: You've been working day and night to reproduce that book's contents...
  • Ruby: You haven't slept since the day you noticed its disappearance, have you?
  • Zachery: This is not a task we can delay, Ruby.
  • Zachery: I still remember it very clearly, but...
  • Zachery: I worry that even my perfect memories might somehow change, too.
  • Zachery: If that happens, then I truly won't have anything left to trust.
  • Ruby: Then, maybe I can take over for a little bit? I'll record what I've read!
  • Ruby: I'd be happy to help however I can!
  • Zachery: ...

And this reality was so very adamant in keeping them blind, to boot.

  • Zachery: Ruby... be honest with me.
  • Zachery: You don't actually recall what that book contains, do you?
  • Ruby: Huh? But I do!
  • Ruby: Not all of it, since I didn't get the time to read that far...
  • Ruby: But I could note down what I did read for you, father.
  • Ruby: It's only the first five chapters, but that should still be helpful, right?
  • Zachery: ...You still remember borrowing it, I see.
  • Zachery: You were overjoyed that I'd brought home a one-of-a-kind oddity, after all.
  • Zachery: But did you know that you have already read it front to back thrice?
  • Ruby: H-huh...? I have?
  • Ruby: No, that's not true... I never had the time to...
  • Ruby: A-ah, now that I think about it, actually... I do remember!
  • Ruby: That's right! I came to return it to your study yesterday, since I'd just finished reading it again, father!
  • Ruby: Yes, I've definitely read the book... the book? Huh?
  • Ruby: Huh, what was that book's title...?

Hence, those who threaten a "truth" are subtly silenced at every turn.

  • Ruby: What did its author note say again?
  • Ruby: What were the main topics? Huh? Huh...?
  • Reed: Sis...? I didn't see sis read anything.
  • Ruby: Oh, no, Reed! I must have read it!
  • Ruby: Father said so... so I definitely had that book just yesterday!
  • Ruby: Maybe you just didn't notice, Reed...
  • Reed: No! You didn't!
  • Reed: Sis studied with me when the sun was up,
  • Reed: And played outside when the moon was out,
  • Reed: Until mom said it's sleep-time.
  • Reed: See? No time to read any books!
  • Reed: Remember, sis?
Children are simpleminded.
But to say they don't think before they speak is wrong.

It's more so that they're very eager to be honest, and say what's on their mind when the chance to do so arises.

It becomes "logic" for everyone to deny those people, until, eventually...

  • Zachery: ...Hah.
  • Zachery: So even my corner of the world has become wrong, it seems.
  • Ruby: Father, no! That's not the case...
Ruby was suddenly profusely apologizing, but it all fell on deaf ears.
The professor simply sunk back into his work, endlessly writing something only he knew.

The seconds turned to minutes, and eventually...

The blind sheep are slaughtered.

The apologies stopped.
His daughter gave up, and left him to work undisturbed.

Turning to her younger brother, she gently picked him up and left.
She didn't say anything about what had just transpired to him.

Yes, who could blame a child for describing the world as they see it?

"Professor Zachery has gone mad."

Ever so slowly, that sentiment started spreading in hushed tones.
But the professor did not care to address any of it.
Instead, he slowly withdrew from the public eye after one last public statement.

"This world is wrong. In due time, you shall see.
You will fight amongst yourselves in ignorance of the truth, and bring ruin...
...Which I shall have no part in."

A war broke out, and a barrier was erected.
Afterwards, it seemed that nobody could find the professor anymore.

  • Spirit: Oh! This brilliant heartache!
  • Spirit: I finally understand how lonely it is to never be believed!
  • Spirit: Such a unique torture, unlike any other...
  • Spirit: Why, it is their right to tear apart the disbelievers!
  • Spirit: Yes, only when it's too late, when their prophecies have come true...
  • Spirit: Only then will you realize disbelief is what brought you ruin!
  • Spirit: You should have learned your lesson already, human!
  • Spirit: To let it repeat again like this, that would be wrong! Wrong! .-- .-. --- -. --. -.-.-- /! .-- .-. --- -. --. -.-.-- /! .-- .-. --- -. --. -.-.-- /!!!
Reed: Don't get distracted by the spirit.
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Lunk
Lunk
5 months ago

I really like the artstyle in this update.

But also: A strange book that everyone forgot the existence of? And all evidence of it vanished as well? This is truly a most Unforeseen outcome.

nevermind3476
nevermind3476
5 months ago

Reed: Sounds like you should be getting ready for a fight right about now.

Spirit: Haven't you learned from this that being RUDE convinces no one?

Guy
Guy
5 months ago

scrunkly reed

on another note how do i change my profile picture

^