Chapter IX : The New World VII

Chapter IX : The New World

“  Their Stories”

That day changed the World.

For the first time after the Age of the Sun, rain fell from the sky. It was like a myth that suddenly became reality. Humans never questioned the sources of their water; unbeknownst to them, the World’s tardigrades worked hard to fill the seas. As the planet’s temperature lowered, the seas were filled up with water and that allowed life to flourish in the World despite the lack of precipitation.

But while the tardigrades could accomplish many great feats, they simply could not do everything or recreate every system that the planet once had. Weather was one of the most unpredictable systems and the tardigrades simply did not understand it well enough to meddle with it. However, at long last, the planet’s healing process reached a vital point. Once again, it rained.

The humans were wary at first, but when Rina ran into 54 despite the downpour, they emerged from their homes. It was day of both joy and sorrow. The attackers were defeated, clear water fell from the sky… but Errol was gone. She didn’t return that evening, and she didn’t return the following morning, or the day after that, or a week later.

The chasm soon caved in on itself as rain continued to pour. For many days, water fell from the sky and the streets were flooded, but not so much that it hindered the humans. When the rain finally stopped, the humans saw another miracle of the planet: a rainbow. The return of rainy days was accompanied by many changes, one of which was the emergence of a deadly plant from the depths of the Overlord’s Sea. Historians called it kelp and it kept humans away from the Citadel. With its many long leaves, it could grab anything and crush it. Some said that it was left behind by Eight; others said that it had been there all along and resurfaced when the Citadel was raised above water level.

But the changes did not end with rain. Human lives also moved on. Errol’s original history book finally revealed its contents on the day that she disappeared. Rina decided to continue the Overlord’s studies but before she left 54 to travel all over the planet, Thyme proposed that they be husband and wife. Unlike the ancient days, there was no grand ceremony or obligatory blessing from some complete strangers. All that was needed was the affirmation of their life-long love, respect and fidelity to one another.

Someplace else in the World, the oak forest expanded its reach. To help the planet recover its supposed former lush green and blue state, Steel and his band of determined farmers set out to the Desert Beyond. His friend Ochre failed in his undertaking, but the older man’s experiences during his journey with the Overlord made him want to live more. He no longer wanted to stay in a town to exist in a mundane way. The farmer gathered young visionaries and, with the aid of the ever-enthusiastic acacia, they traveled to transform parts of the desert into arable land.

The townsfolk of what used to be 27 soon moved out of 54 and, along with the people of other ruined towns; they built Town # 145 south of the Unreachable Sea. The part of the forest which stood to the west of the Iron Wall became more dangerous than ever during rainy days. But humans, after everything that they’d been through, still strived to expand their towns beyond the Wall. However, it was not due to conquest or greed, but due to the desire to co-exist with the rest of the World’s inhabitants.

Hunter was happy for his town, his family, and for his friends. He also managed to understand the intricacies of Black Blood. As gardeners explained to him, such a gift required a strong will. Due to his diffidence, he initially found it difficult to use his abilities but over time, he was able to use them to help improve the life of his fellow humans. By his side, Puppy remained. Although Linnorm and some of the snakes returned to their home in the desert, Puppy did not return to the giant tardigrade colony. The odd-eyed snake stayed with the humans as well, ever curious and willing to help.

Within their own journals, they wrote their stories in much the same way that the Overlord confided in her diary. During one of her occasional glimpses at the pages of Errol’s confidante, Rina could barely hold back her tears when she flipped to the last entry and read its last line.

I will see you again tomorrow, Diary.

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