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The first thing the Puppeteer knew when they came into existence was a voice talking to them. They knew the voice even though it was silent but at the same time, it was a total stranger to them.

The voice told them they were assigned to a being called “The Batter”. The Batter has an important mission to fill out, and the Puppeteer is to see that it is accomplished. They were going to be released in a strange place called Zone 1 and to seek out “The Judge” if they had any questions.

The Puppeteer watched as their new puppet crossed the little flat bridge in the strange yellow island they've been teleported into. They realised that the little island was Zone 0 and that it has a very tall and very yellow tower.

Then they met the Judge, a white cryptic cat with a wide grin. The Puppeteer was surprised when the Judge noticed their presence and tried speaking back after he asked for their name. The feline just stared blankly at the Batter. The Batter quickly deduced that he was the only one who could communicate with the Puppeteer and the Judge was satisfied with the answer.

The cat brought them into the tower from the top and made them solve simple puzzles in order to advance into the lower levels. The Batter wasn't pleased. The Puppeteer was amused.

The Puppeteer easily solved the last puzzle in Zone 0 and came across a Red Box. The Batter didn't know about it since he didn't answer the Puppeteer’s question about it.

“A strange block capable of healing you and sending you to the Nothingness.” The Judge explained to them, and handed them a Leo-card. “You will need this in order to access Zone 1.”

The Batter took the card and used the Red Box to enter the Nothingness with the Puppeteer. If the Puppeteer was feeling any emotions, the Batter could tell them through the strings. They guided him to the little red dot that was Zone 1, and finally started the Batter’s sacred mission to purify the world.

Chapter Text

For some strange reasons, the Elsens in Zone 1 kept giving them a long description of the area they were in and what said area is responsible for.

If there was one thing the Batter is good at other than fighting, it was being patient.

The Puppeteer on the other hand, isn't so patient.

He could feel their growing frustration in the strings as the Elsens drones on and used that to fuel his purification in the Smoke Mines. He wasn't sure if Alpha was influenced by the Puppeteer’s annoyance but considering how hard it threw itself at a Spectre, he could very well say that the Add on was affected. It is connected with the Puppeteer’s strings as well, just like him.

> I don't get why we keep having history lessons every time we go to an part of Zone 1

> I mean, it's partially interesting at the first one but it gets old real quick at the second

> Who opens cows for metal anyway?

Their voice was silent but echoed in his head. There was a tinge of anger in it.

“Are you calm, Puppeteer? I'd rather not have a repeat of what happened in the mine.” The Batter said, grimacing at the recalled moment. Said moment was the Puppeteer taking out their anger on the Spectres through the Batter but forgetting to heal him unless he was in critical conditions. He could remember the January reopening his wounds and the Puppeteer making him smash open its head in response. Satisfying but unnecessarily painful.

> I'm fine

> Let’s hurry up and get Dedan

He agreed.

He just hoped there was no more history lessons from the Elsens.

Chapter Text

Japhet’s library is a grand building to behold, magenta walls reaching high up in the sky. The Batter wondered how many floors were in it.

The Batter could feel the Puppeteer’s surprise at the dark blue interior of the library, and he couldn't blame them.

> I thought it was going to be coloured pink like Zone 2

“You were not the only one who thought that.” The Batter agreed mindlessly, and walked up to the Elsen behind the counter.

He could faintly hear the Puppeteer humming as he spoke with the Elsen.

“Hnnnn…. Just don't damage the books anymore on the third floor.” The Elsen said breathily. “Someone ripped out the pages from those books and sometimes we hear a cat meowing.”

The Batter left the Elsen alone and made his way up to the second floor. The Puppeteer paused his body at the sight of bookshelves.

> Hey Batter, could you check out some of the books?

The Batter obliged and went towards one of the bookshelves. His fingers brushed lightly against the countless book bindings and pulled a plastic one out.

“This one is called The Up Children Down. Do you want to read it?” The Batter asked.

The tug on the strings told him their decision and he flipped open the book.

And so swarming in the Belly of the World, Seven hundred thousands Children of Sin gnawed at the justice put in place by the Queen during her peaceful reign. They are the physical manifestation of Evil Deed released upon the world. Forever lost in their seething madness, they are unsalvageable and immortal. Only the Queen herself, at the time of the Final Confrontation, will have the Power to annihilate the Tainted power of the worm-child.

Chapter 2, of Apocalypse and Black Liches. All the souls on exile for their sins will be tortured for eternity by the Legion of the Black Liches,

The page ended there and with no more to go.

> Where’d the other pages go?

“Seem like they're missing.” The Batter answered, shutting the book and returning it to its shelf.

> It was just getting good too…

Their disappointment could be felt through the strings and the Batter didn't like the feeling.

“Do you want to read another?”

> Sure, maybe I can learn a thing or two about your world

The Batter let himself go to another bookshelf and pick another book.

“This one is called Bismark. Do you want to read it?”

> Read it

The Batter noted how old the book was considering it having only two pages and their words mostly faded away in time. It took them a while to read the faded word but the Puppeteer found themself absorbed in the book.

For she chose Three Guardians to rule some of the Zones. The Fire Bird was chosen as the lord of the Second Zone, the Eternal City of Bismark. They were the most… undecipherable gibberish while the Specters were destroying the

But the dynamics of the world soon drove people mad. They forgot about their joys and eventually succumbed to their neurosis of fear and worry. They weren't

Meanwhile, the Flaming Winged Sovereign seeped in his throne, sadde-

“... It ends there.” The Batter said, and returned the book.

> That was almost impossible to read

> Let’s read another!

It took a long time til the duo decided to continue with their mission

Chapter Text

> This mall is terrible

The Batter agreed with the Puppeteer as he made another left, only to meet a dark blue room filled with boxes and posters. Not what they were looking for. It's been some time since they've entered the mall and frankly, the blue was starting to get to him.

Even with the Puppeteer guiding him, the Batter faced countless blue walls and boxes, and spectres. Thank goodness the Puppeteer had stocked up on Luck Tickets and Silver Flesh earlier.

> That was the same freaking room we've been to for the 20th time!

> How does this place even loop?

“It is a mystery.” The Batter said and backtracked to the entrance of the basement - the very start of the maze. He couldn't help but let out a groan. The Puppeteer shared his disappointment.

> Wonder how the Elsens got around

“They might've gotten lost, like we have.” The Batter suggested, turning right. “The Elsens in Zone 1 couldn't remember their area very well.”

> Not wrong

> They couldn't even remember which floor the the Postal Service was on

> Whoever designed this place obviously didn't think this through

The Batter agreed again and took another right.

He was greeted with the room they had left earlier.

> GOD DAMN-

The Batter sighed, this was going to take longer than their reading time at the library.

Chapter Text

> Hey Batter

“Yes Puppeteer?”

> Is your world really filled with smoke?

The Batter paused in his steps and answered, “Yes.”

> What's it like?

> Smokey?

The Batter rolled his eyes at the Puppeteer’s snort from the joke, and nodded. “I suppose it does.”

> What does smoke smell like?

If one could see under the Batter’s hat, they would see the slight surprise on his face. He forgot that though the Puppeteer was near omniscient, they haven't have a faintest clue about his world or how it functioned. They could formulate strategies that could turn any battles into their favour, they could solve the most complex puzzle with time, heck they even haggled with Zacherie and that man was always firm on his prices.

But the Puppeteer knew nothing about his world. They didn't understand how metal was produced from cows, or how they made land with metal, or how Elsens breathed smoke like oxygen. They didn't understand why the Elsens worked with a horrible Guardian, or their need to be productive, or their paranoia.

“Smoke is… It smells bad I suppose.” The Batter answered, and could picture the incredulous look from the Puppeteer.

> Bad?

“It is difficult to describe because I have breathed it for as long as I can remember.” The Batter explained, swinging their bat absentmindedly. “I'm not sure how to describe it accurately, but it is sometimes invisible, and sometimes suffocating.”

> Huh

“Why do you ask, Puppeteer?” The Batter asked curiously.

> I don't remember what it smells like

“Pardon?” The Batter looked up to the sky, where the strings were pulled up.

> It’s like, I know what smoke is

> But I don't know what it smells like

> Maybe because I don't remember or never smelled it before

> Or maybe because I don't have a physical nose

“I don't think you want to.” The Batter said as he approached an Elsen about to become a Burnt and readied his bat. The Puppeteer didn’t reply, but allowed him to engage in a battle with the Burnt. After the Burnt was purified, the Puppeteer spoke again.

> Maybe that's why the Elsens are becoming Burnts?

> Because the smoke isn't good for them?

“Yet they breathe it in every day.” The Batter remarked.

> Need to get rid of smoke then

> Then nobody has to suffer smoke anymore

The Batter smiled when he felt the Puppeteer’s happiness, they were definitely getting rid of the smoke after they purified this corrupted, smoke filled world.

Chapter Text

The Batter frowned when he ended up in the same room for the fifth time. Since entering Alma’s meat labyrinth, he had been trapped in a loop of constantly getting lost and winding up outside of the maze. The Judge was no help, instead he chose to leave the Batter with cryptic words that was supposed to be an advice for him and the Puppeteer.

Speaking of the Puppeteer, Batter wonders how long he would have to wait before the being returned to control his strings. It had been a while since the Puppeteer retreated from his mind to rest. He could still remember their previous conversation.

> Batter I may be a near omniscient being on a completely different plane of existence and all

> But dammit, I need some freaking sleep

Since then, he hadn't heard a word from the Puppeteer. Well, except for the occasional snoozes that escaped into his mind. Though The Batter didn't mind the background voice.

‘Puppeteer, when are you returning?’ He thought impatiently, heaving a sigh as he reentered Alma’s meat labyrinth.

Predictably, he took another wrong turn and was lead out of the building.

He groaned very loudly. He could've swore he heard Zacherie chuckling at his favourite (only) customer’s predicament. At this point, the Batter wasn't above begging for his Puppeteer to return, if not to solve this stupid labyrinth.

Chapter Text

Hello?

Oh good, you can still hear me.

Looks like you've been busy during your time with the Batter.

Did you have fun?

It seems you still can't talk properly like I do.

I can't fix that little issue for you.

You have to fix it yourself.

What's with that look?

...

Haha, I am only joking.

You don't have a face either.

No need to be angry, it will not serve any purpose here anyway.

So what do you think of that world?

Is that what you think of it as?

That's alright, I won't judge.

It is merely your opinion afterall.

Then what about the Batter?

I see.

Again, I will not judge.

You are entitled to having your own opinion.

Well, I suppose it's time our conversation has ended.

I can't keep you from doing your mission.

I hope the next time we meet, you are able to vocally converse.

It's awfully lonely when I am the only one doing the talking.

Remember, Puppeteer.

You are the only one who can do it.

Chapter Text

Brother

“Have you seen my brother?” The Judge asked, smiling at the Batter with hope.

The Batter’s answer was obvious.

“No.” He answered with a deadpan. The Judge’s smile fell by a fraction, disappointed by the answer.

“What about the Puppeteer?”

The Puppeteer’s answer was more obvious.

> The Judge has a brother?

“What do you think he just said?” The Batter drawled at the Puppeteer, looking upward with a look.

> Excuse you, I don’t know anything about you guys so let me be surprised

“I am assuming they were not aware of my brother, judging by your reply.” The Judge deduced and sighed quietly. He looked at the Batter with his wide smile and said, “If you see a cat like me, please do tell me. He is most likely somewhere in this Zone.”

The Batter scoffed internally, what were the chances that he would run across another cat like the Judge? The only thing that existed in this corrupted worlds were the Queen, her Guardians, Zacherie and the Elsens. Puppeteer couldn’t really count since they weren’t physically in his world (they’re still trying to figure out where exactly the Puppeteer existed) and the Batter couldn’t fully recall much about his past, merely bits of general information and his background.

Leaving the Judge behind at the tall, magenta tower, the Batter allowed the Puppeteer to explore the pink zone that is Zone 2. He had spoken to few of its residents and every conversations were fear filled. The Elsens feared the Batter as a stranger, and many other things that shouldn’t be feared.

> What a bunch of scaredy bunch

The Batter wholeheartedly agreed with his Puppeteer’s remark. They were fearing the wrong thing.

“They aren’t very helpful either.” The Batter commented, entering the library via the west entrance. The Puppeteer hummed in thought. They went to the lobby of the building where they overheard two Elsens talking about books being damaged on the 3rd floor.

The Elsen behind the blue counter perked his head up when the Batter approached him.

“Hello. Welcome to the library.” The Elsen greeted, voice as breathy as the other Elsens. “Uh… I should point out that the upper floors are inaccessible because of the spectres.”

That got the Batter’s attention. “There are specters in this building?”

“Uhh… Y.. Yes……. Why do you ask?” The Elsen asked, looking at Batter with a suspicious but worried look.

“I will eliminate them.” The Batter stated firmly.

That caught the Elsen off guard. “El… Eliminate the spectres?” He repeated with disbelief. “But… uh… uh… You know, uh, you… you could get hurt… and uh, there’s nothing for you up there. Just walls, shelves, stairs and an old cat.”

That got the Puppeteer’s attention.

“A cat?” The Batter frowned. “I’ll go up and purify the upper floors.”

There was no way that there was a cat in the building, unless they were referring to the Judge but the Batter hardly thinks so.

“Ah... Um... good... ... Okay. Don't be too loud, then. And the fourth floor is not really accessible... People have torn pages out of the books. So I don't want to go up there. It could be dangerous.”

With that conversation ended, the Batter climbed the stairs to the third floor of the library.

> Batter, you thinking what I’m thinking?

“Possibly. But there is a chance they are referring to the Judge.” The Batter said.

> Yeah but remember what the Judge said?

“He didn’t state that his brother would be in this Zone. He could be in another zone and the Judge is unaware of that.” The Batter reasoned.

> Come on, Batter

> We DO sort of owe the Judge

> He gave us the Leo Card to Zone 1 after all

The Batter sighed, there was no arguing the Puppeteer once they got the motivation to do something. Even if he didn’t like it.

“Very well. If you insist, Puppeteer.” The Batter sighed and the Puppeteer cheered.

> OPERATION FIND A KITTY GO

The Batter snorted out loud from the ridiculous title. Solving the library’s 3rd floor puzzle was fairly challenging, and the spectres there made it a hassle to do. Eventually, they cleared the floor and returned to the lobby. The Elsen behind the counter was surprised that the Batter returned mostly unscathed and also repaired the damaged books.

“The fourth floor’s now accessible… for you and you only…” The Elsen said with a small smile. The Batter merely proceeded to the fourth floor.

The good news was that there wasn’t any puzzles for them to solve yet, so that meant the Puppeteer could relax their thinking cap a while.

The better news is that there is a cat in the fourth floor.

The bad news is that the cat was NOT friendly.

“What’s that in your hand?” The cat narrowed his eyes at the Batter’s bat.

“You’re not the Judge.” The Batter replied. “Yet you look so familiar.”

“The… The Judge?” The cat frowned and shook his head. “No, I am not. My name is Japhet. I am the creator of this city. I am also the one leading the phantoms, the royal instruments of my vengeance.”

“You’re the chief of the specters?” The Batter said with mild disbelief.

> Can’t be

> He’s a freaking cat!

The Puppeteer also shared his sentiment.

“Specifically, they are my arms, sent to me by the Queen to restore justice to this zone. You must have been very determined to have set foot onto the stairs of this library. I recognize in you a certain courage, an exceptional trait for a fear-riddled place such as this.” Japhet said, and hissed at the Batter. “However, my revenge will not leave anyone unpunished. Thus, you shall be the first to succumb to the blast of my ectoplasmic army!”

The battle that ensued was frankly, too funny to be considered a real battle. Japhet was a very dramatic cat that spoke in long, poetic sentences that neither the Batter or Puppeteer could care about. It got even funnier when Japhet tried to call out the Spectres, only to fail miserably and the Batter had to forcibly drown out the sound of the Puppeteer wheezing in laughter from his thoughts.

Eventually, the Batter managed to defeat Japhet and look down at the injured feline.

“Poor fool! It is not yet time for me to reveal my true nature! Still, know that you will nothing by waiting, obnoxious buffoon.” Japhet hissed, glaring at the Batter furiously before retreating.

The two stood in silence for a while.

> Should we tell the Judge that his brother has gone crazy and believes that he’s the leader of the Spectres?

> And he’s also a really bad actor?

“I doubt it’d change a thing.” The Batter said.

> Least operation Find a Kitty succeeded

The laughter didn’t belong to the Puppeteer this time.

Chapter Text

If the Puppeteer had an actual body, they would probably feel the morning sleepiness people felt from waking up. They couldn’t remember when they had fallen asleep but they could guess from where their last memory stopped.

They could hear an odd drone playing, accompanied by the quiet pitter patter of rain. They recognised it as the music that always played in Zone 1.

Batter must’ve noticed the Puppeteer was awake and he looked at their general direction. “Welcome back, Puppeteer.”

> Morning, I guess?

Puppeteer could only guess the time from their vantage point. A con of seeing everything at a slanted bird's eye viewpoint.

The Puppeteer noticed how the Batter was still in Alma’s meat maze and briefly wondered if time somehow paused in their sleep and only resumed at their awakening, or that the Batter was simply unable to solve the meat maze.

Only one way to find out.

> Did I miss anything?

Funny how they’re thought to be omniscient when they are only aware of what they see and hear, just in a larger scale that allowed them to gather more knowledge that way.

“I was unable to go through Alma’s maze.” The Batter said, his voice holding a hint of annoyance from his past results. “One wrong turn and I’m always sent outside of the maze. The Judge wasn’t very helpful either.”

> Did he say anything?

The Puppeteer resisted the urge to snort when the Batter scowled. His dislike of the feline was always obvious to see, even when he was trying not to show it.

“He told me a cryptic advice and refused to elaborate for me.” The Batter grumbled. “Remain and ponder a little longer before crossing one of these traps, that is what he said.”

> That’s it?

> No wonder you’re so angry

“Do I really look that furious?” The Batter asked, presumably raising a brow under his cap.

> Well you do to me

The Batter didn’t say anything back as the Puppeteer led his body back to the accursed maze. The Puppeteer stared at the three identical doors, contemplating which door to enter as faint, fast paced music played in their mind, completely contrasting the slow music outside of the building.

“I recall that I went through the left and top doors before I was removed from the maze.” The Batter supplied helpfully to his Puppeteer.

> That’s is the best hint right now Batter so thanks for that

The Puppeteer made the Batter head to the left door and nearly paused from the sudden much louder music. The noise immediately became quiet as soon as they entered the new room, and the Puppeteer frowned inwardly.

They sent the Batter outside and as the Batter said, the maze led them back outside.

“Puppeteer?” The Batter called out, puzzled. His controller did not reply but made him walk back into the maze. They went left again and top, just like the Batter said, but the man noticed how slower the Puppeteer made him walk. He wondered why. The Puppeteer made him circle around the way, approaching each of the doors but never entering them.

“Puppeteer, what are you trying to do?” He asked, hoping to know what was going on in his controller’s head. This time, the Puppeteer replied.

> I’ve got a small hunch about this maze

His mouth parted slightly in surprise. The Puppeteer had already figured out the maze, or was at least making progress faster than he did. He didn’t ask anymore questions as the Puppeteer made him circle the room one more time, before deciding to approach the right door. To their pleasure, the Puppeteer’s decision turned out to be correct.

The Puppeteer made him circle the room again, this time only once and chose the left door. Once again, the Puppeteer’s choice had been correct. The Batter smiled, it was only a matter of time before they meet Dedan and finally purify this zone of corruption.

> Wonder how you couldn’t solve it

> This didn’t take as long as the other puzzles here in Zone 1

He frowned at the Puppeteer’s words. “What do you mean by that, Puppeteer?”

> The music

His frown deepened. “What are you talking about, Puppeteer?”

The Puppeteer made an exasperated sigh, was the Batter partially deaf or something?

> The music, Batter

> Whenever the music here got loud, it indicates which door is the right one

> And considering I don't have ears and you do…

“Puppeteer, my ears work perfectly fine. There is no music in this building.” The Batter said.

> Not just in this maze

> Outside too

> Zone 1 sounds like rain and hums

> Zone 0 sounds like dripping water

> And don't get me started on the Nothingness

The Batter tapped his chin in thought. He was at lost here, even more than when he tried doing the labyrinth.

“As much as I hate to suggest this, the Judge may know something.” He suggested, slightly reluctant.

> Who are you and what have you done with the Batter

The Puppeteer snickered when the Batter smiled albeit a little bit.

> We’ll ask him after we purify this Zone

> I don't wanna do the maze again, especially since we’re so close to getting to Dedan

The Batter agreed, definitely not because he wanted to avoid the Judge just a little bit longer.

Chapter Text

Zacharie waved his hand at the Batter and Puppeteer when they entered his store in Zone 3.

“Well hello there, Batter and Puppeteer. What can I do for my favourite customers?” Zacharie greeted the duo cheerfully.

“Five Luck Tickets.” The Batter said, taking credits out of his pockets.

> You forgot to say please, Batter

The Puppeteer reminded playfully, gaining an exasperated sigh from the man and a snicker from Zacharie.

“Yes dear Batter, you've forgotten some manners.” Zacharie said, holding onto the Luck Tickets but made no movement of giving them to the Batter yet.

Batter frowned but relented. “Please.”

“Here you go. Wasn't so hard, was it Batter?” Zacharie chuckled and exchanged the tickets with the Batter’s credit. He could hear the Puppeteer playfully teasing the Batter, and the man replying with his own.

Yes, he could hear the Puppeteer like the Batter could.

That fact surprised both parties when it became known. Zacharie had been unaware that the Puppeteer couldn't be heard by anyone who wasn't the Batter and didn't think at all when he greeted them the first time the Batter interacted with him. The Puppeteer was very pleased to have another resident of the world to talk to. Batter was just glad he didn't have to listen to every complaint the Puppeteer made.

“So Puppeteer, what do you think of our world now?” Zacharie asked. The first time he had asked that was in Zone 1, when the Puppeteer didn't know a thing about his world.

> Kinda weird but in its own good way

> Zone 2 was fun because of the park

> Speaking of the park

Zacharie watched curiously as the Batter went through his inventory before pulling out a photo. It was wrinkled slightly but the image was in good condition.

He looked back up the Batter, grinning widely even though his mask hid it. “Why, I didn't think the Batter like me that much to ride the rollercoaster with me.”

“I don't like you. Your statue was in the way.” The Batter corrected, frowning.

> He lies, he's totally into you

Batter sputtered incoherently, apparently not expecting the Puppeteer to say that. Zacharie blinked in silent, unable to tell whether the Puppeteer was joking or not. The merchant decided to go along with it.

“Does he now? If so, then I'm afraid that I'm going to have to decline his feelings. I’m but a humble merchant who sells his wares to his only customer.” Zacharie said dramatically, his grin growing wider as the Batter gave him a betrayed expression. “Besides, romance doesn't give me much credit.”

“Zacharie, I don't like you that way.” The Batter said firmly with a frown.

> Hey Zacharie, we’ll sell the photo for 800 credits

Zacharie went silent at the Puppeteer’s offer, ignoring the Batter’s protesting at the entity and pondered over the deal. He certainly didn't think of the Batter that way, not to mention 800 credits was a rather high price, almost as high as some of his more advanced merchandise. Then again, if he agreed, he would probably witness the best moment of the Batter and his Puppeteer, and have something to blackmail the man with.

Credits or a memory?

A choice that wasn't so hard to make.

“Deal.”

The Batter’s reaction made it worth everything to the merchant. The Puppeteer’s laughter rivalled the volume of the Batter as he attempted to speak but he kept stumbling over his words. It was the first time he saw the man exhibit emotions other than seriousness, determination and apathy.

He chuckled as he traded 800 credits for the photo, and watched the duo leave his temporary store. He could still hear the Puppeteer making comments on their relationship and the Batter vehemently denying it.

Zacherie's eyes wandered over to the photo on the table, staring at the main subject of the picture. There was no smile but the Batter seemed to be having fun on the rollercoaster, if his expression said anything about his emotion.

Zacharie briefly wondered if perhaps one day, he could ride the rollercoaster with the Batter and maybe the Puppeteer if they ever figured out a method to make Them physical in his world.

Chapter Text

Batter could feel the Puppeteer’s horrified disgust at the sight, and he gripped his bat tightly to suppress the urge to purify the Elsen worker.

“It's a secret element… The fifth element… The most important element… Because without sugar, people could no longer bear reality, and they'd go mad.” The Elsen said mechanically as he threw another corpse into the furnace.

The Puppeteer’s anger grew near its peak and the Batter knew it. There were many times their anger flared but rarely were it near the breaking point. The only moment that happened was when Dedan blatantly insulted the Batter, and the Puppeteer ensured that Dedan knew the meaning of pain in a deeper level.

> This… This is so screwed up!

> How can they just do that?!

> Eat the remains of their coworkers!

> Going insane from it is one thing but cannibalism?!

“Puppeteer, please calm yourself or else we’ll have another Dedan incident.” The Batter calmly reminded, not wanting to waste time. “As much as it sickens you, it won't make a difference if we rid of this impure being. There are many others who are likely willing to do this, if they are promised the addictive sustenance.”

> This world is so much more screwed up than I thought

“Which is why we need to purify it, Puppeteer.” The Batter said. “I need you with me to do this. I can't do it alone.”

> Then sign me the hell up

> I'm not going to let this stupid thing continue

> Let's beat the crap out of this Zone’s Guardian

> Some bloody Guardian they are

Batter smiled. “I look forward to the upcoming confrontation.”

> Me too Batter

> Me too

Chapter Text

Colours puzzled the Puppeteer. They were pretty to look at certainly but there wasn't much to like about colours. In fact it made looking for things much harder.

The Puppeteer nearly missed an obvious chest in the smoke mines of Zone 1, because the purple colours practically camouflaged it.

The Puppeteer lost count of how many things they've accidentally made Batter take a wrong turn in the mall of Zone 2, because the blue walls were always the same to each other.

The Puppeteer took forever to pass the sugar factory of Zone 3, because all of the doors were the same dark green and had nothing to indicate what type of room was behind the doors.

However, they liked the colour of black and white, the colour of the Batter, Zacharie, the Judge, the Elsens; the colour of everyone in this corrupted world. Black and white made everything become so simple and not so complex. It was easier to spot a black and white object in a colourful environment and equally simple in a purified zone.

Puppeteer remembers the first time they went back to Zone 1 to see if they had missed anything, only to their surprise that the Zone had become an empty zone of black and white. The Secretaries were a surprise too, as they turned out to be powerful but troublesome foes. The loot was worth the fight though.

They recall a conversation with the Batter while exploring the purified Zone 1.

> Hey Batter

“Yes Puppeteer?” The Batter looked up to the Puppeteer’s general direction.

> What's your favourite colour?

“Why do you ask this?”

> I'm curious

“In that case, I suppose it would be the purest colour, white. What about you, Puppeteer?”

The Batter could feel the Puppeteer sinking into their thoughts and waited for them to answer.

> … I like orange

“Orange?”

> Yeah, it looks kinda warm and friendly!

> Also it's light enough to see things clearly so better than the colours of the Zones

> Like black and white, they're my favourite too

> Not green though

> Green is not a creative colour

Batter just snorted at the Puppeteer’s comment and continued to explore the black and white Zone 1.

Puppeteer remembers the strange music box and bells they kept hearing in the purified zone and the distant cries of someone banging on something metal. They once asked Batter about it. He never replied. Puppeteer noted that the cry sounded somewhat familiar but they couldn't place a finger where they could've heard the voice.

It was much easier traversing through a purified zone instead of a normal zone. The Secretaries were the only enemies around and they didn't appear very often to the duo. Puppeteer easily found chests that held powerful items that would've costed a fortune to get from Zacharie.

The Puppeteer would have loved to make all of the Zones black and white, with a bit of orange. It wouldn't be until a long time later that they would start to miss the colours of the Zones.

Chapter Text

Perhaps for the first time since they've embarked on this ‘holy quest’ with the Batter, the Puppeteer learned how to regret. Alas, it was too late for them because the deed had been done.

The Queen had been slain, and following her demise, the little boy called Hugo died as well.

As soon as Hugo died, the bright red colour faded away to pure black and white, the colour of simplicity. The Puppeteer wasn't sure whether to be pleased or saddened by the loss of colour. They just didn't know what they were feeling right now.

Batter didn't speak to the Puppeteer but he waited ever so patiently, and it wasn't long before the Puppeteer pushed his body forward. At this point of the game, they have no choice but to progress, and finish the purification.

The black and white hallway seemed longer than the ones in Zone 3, and all the sudden, so much duller. At the end of the hall is a switch and somehow, the Puppeteer felt like they were expecting that.

That was when the Judge appeared, eyes in furious narrow slit and his ever smiling face so much darker than before. Pablo is angry and the two of them know that.

The feline furiously scolded the two for their actions and the consequences for them. Puppeteer barely remembers that he is aware of their presence with the Batter. The Judge angrily argues with the Batter that he had killed his own wife and son, and the Batter calmly retorts that it was for the sake of purifying the world. The Judge tells them that he regrets helping them.

He gives the Puppeteer a choice.

Finish what THEY’VE started (itwasn'ttheirfaultitwastheBatterbatterbatter), or betray their partner to do the right thing.

The Batter pleaded with them that he NEEDS them to complete his sacred mission. The Judge pleaded with them that they NEEDS to stop this madness.

And at long last, the Puppeteer chose.

They were alone in the dark once more.

Chapter Text

Hello.

It's me again.

Do you remember me?

I hope so, I'd hate to introduce myself again.

What do you mean I haven't introduced myself at all?

You're so silly, Puppeteer, it's common courtesy to tell your name to another when you meet.

Of course none of that matters now that only three remain in existence. Including me, of course.

…?

You're wondering who the third one is? Silly Puppeteer, you already know him. For a very long time I might add.

That's right, you still have memory issues don't you? I thought that little quest you did would've helped jog your memory?

What do you mean I never talked about it? Puppeteer, you know it's bad to lie.

You also haven't resolved your silence. I wouldn't worry, in a place where nothing exist, a voice wouldn't make much of a difference.

So what will you do now?

Your puppet is gone and so is the world you oversaw.

At the very least, you remembered the first task you were given. That is a bright side.

I suppose you could always try to rewind.

You've forgotten that you could do that?

Honestly Puppeteer, what am I to do with you?

You are supposed to be aware of what you are capable of, not me.

Very well.

I'll leave you to do whatever.

You have your free will, and I have mine.

However, you are just another one of the 14 residents.

You are not above consequences, Puppeteer.

Remember that and maybe, you'll finally remember what you cannot remember.

Goodbye Puppeteer.

We will most likely meet again in another time.

Game Over

New Game

...

Enter your name

...

Welcome

You've been assigned to a being called "The Batter"

The Batter has an important mission. Be sure that it is accomplished.

We will let you out in Zone 0

For more information, find the one called "The Judge"

Chapter Text

Purification in progress…

Adversaries purified.

Go to yellow box, heal and SAVE.

Purification in progress…

Adversaries purified.

Go back to the yellow box, heal and SAVE.

Purification in progress…

Adversaries purified.

Back to the yellow box, heal and SAVE.

Purification in progress…

Adversaries purified.

Head back to the-

“Puppeteer, please. This constant going back and forth after every battle is beginning to wear me out.”

> YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN A GAME OVER HAPPENS

“What is a game over even?!”

Purification in progress…

...

GAME OVER

LOAD

> I TOLD YOU

> NOBODY TAKES ME SERIOUSLY WHEN IT COMES TO GAME OVER

Chapter Text

In all honesty, this situation is dire but too hilarious to actually take seriously.

Rewind back thirty minutes ago when the Batter and Puppeteer met the Judge on the roof of the only building in Shachihata. The Puppeteer, unable to communicate with the Judge, made the Batter approach the feline and ask for information to help them progress.

He hadn't even asked the question when the cat suddenly leapt over his arm, and oddly enough he was sent sprawling on the floor, bat dropped in surprise.

“Judge, what are you doing?” The Batter asked, startled and watched as the Judge writhed around, swatting his paws at the air.

Correction, he was swatting at the faint strings that connected him with the Puppeteer.

“What the hell.” Was his appropriate remark on the Judge’s action.

> Aw I think he likes playing with strings

> Cats always liked playing with yarns

> Never ended well for them though

“Why is that, Puppeteer?” The Batter asked curiously. He looked at the Judge again and went silent.

“I apologise for the sudden actions but could you perhaps aid in unravelling myself from these near transparent strings? I believe I am trapped.” The Judge meowed, trying to move his front right leg which was trapped near his torso.

> Cats kinda get really into it when they start playing and with strings, they get really wrapped up

> Also you're gonna want to help the Judge

> Since he's got information we need and that you can't move unless he's freed

“Can't you make the strings intangible?”

> I could but this is so much more amusing

> Have fun

The Batter cursed and got to work on untangling the Judge from the Puppeteer’s strings. He proved to be absolutely terrible at the task though, when the Judge ended up choking on the strings more than ten moves before actually being freed. That did little to stop the Puppeteer from laughing like a madman.