The night after the 12th’s defeat and Animus’ death.
Taiyo was asleep the moment he touched the bed. Exhaustion, mental and physical, swamped him and carried him into deep slumber.
At first it was warm, dreamless darkness. Slowly the dark gave way to light, and Taiyo found himself in a well-lit place. Despite being asleep, it didn’t feel like a dream.
An answer came in a familiar form.
Clay doll and human locked gazes. It was a while before Taiyo spoke again. “... Maimakterion, why are you here?”
The 11th golem smiled, making Taiyo unconsciously note new softness to his features. “This, too, is another service.”
The boy jolted, staring at his friend. “Then Anima- ?!”
“Yeah.” Maimakterion’s smile was surprisingly warm, and a little sad. “She said she’s giving me a second chance - guess I’m going to be born as a human or something after this. Doesn’t sound too bad… but I’m glad she let me see you again.”
Taiyo’s face crumpled. “I… yeah. I-I am too.”
“Hey, don’t cry.” A soft, warm hand brushed the human’s cheek, catching a tear. “It’s been great. Goodbye.”
Taiyo woke to an aching body and an aching heart.