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To Kill A Zookeeper

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Mebeus glanced at Kane for a moment, his lips momentarily poised to speak, when a frothy gurgling sound in the direction of the Zookeeper's remains became vaguely audible, interrupting the Oroboro's stillborn utterance.

 

The two fighters turned to look, the slurping sounds leading their respective gazes to the porch siding where the remnants of the Zookeeper's head clung, small chunks of hair, tissue, and brain matter sliding off of the weathered, wind-blasted wood wall and plopping onto the creaky porch flooring below. A whole eyeball dangled from the bottom of one of the overhanging siding slats, detached veins and optical nerves suspending it as the wind caused it to bounce and roll gently on the sun-parched wall. Mebeus, drawn by, and slightly stimulated by the sight of unadulterated gore approached the surreal, bloody work of art. The warrior, Kane, truly was a Salvador Dali of carnage, Mebeus thought to himself, the gun his paintbrush, the whole twisted world his canvas.

 

"Look's just like Grandma's lasagna," Kane uttered over Mebeus' shoulder, he too proud of the master work he had rendered.

 

Kane's stare idled once more upon the eyeball when the dismembered optical apparatus appeared to move on its own accord.

 

"Did you see that?!?" the confused space hunter queried his companion with panicked haste.

 

"See what?" Mebeus replied, asking for clarification.

 

"It just moved... it's looking at me!"

 

"You're out of your mind..." The statement was laughably ironic as neither Mebeus nor "Kane" could be described as remotely sane, the first being a multi-dimensional, mentally-fractured shell of a man, the latter being a self-proclaimed space hunter of insane disposition posing as his psychopathic, blood-letting sibling.

 

"Maybe... replied Kane, but my senses rarely fool me... except when I have consumed too much krog, and let me tell you my friend, there ain't no krog in these here parts, I can guarantee that!"

 

The eyeball moved again, this time the spectacle being clearly witnessed by both parties who watched in horror as the morbid sphere rolled about, the blood-shot iris darting back and forth as it seemingly surveyed its surroundings.

 

"Ahhh!" the two hardened warriors shrieked in unison as the reanimated eye broke free from its sinewy tether, plopped to the ground, and began to roll towards the two shocked spectators.

 

They backed away as the eyeball picked up speed only to stop on its own accord.

 

"What should we do? Shoot it??" Kane asked mere seconds before the eyeball began to change color. It became glassy at first, artificial in appearance as if a prosthetic eye, and then smokey white, the iris and veins completely vanishing, before morphing into a perfect silver sphere.

 

"That's it!" Mebeus shouted, "grab it!" He lunged toward the object as it began to roll away from him, increasing in velocity so as to disallow the cursed paradox of a man to behold that which he sought.

 

The sphere was just about to roll off of the far end of the porch when a great rumbling manifested itself from beneath the floor-boards. Before one could ponder about its source, the unasked question was answered as a massive, diamond-scaled worm emerged through the wooden planks, splinters and nails showering the stunned Orobo as the slobbering beast swallowed his prize, reversed its ascent, and retreated back into the hole from which it had emerged.

 

"Noooo!" Mebeus shouted as the past and the future seemed to collide within his mind, causality ripping through his consciousness as the key to his shattered existence vanished before his eyes.

 

"What's wrong, what was that?" Kane questioned the Oroboro who now kneeled at the edge of the gaping crater left by the retreating worm.

 

"The key," Mebeus answered, "it was the key..." he repeated, his forehead resting in his hands, his fingers woven into his thick black hair.

 

"The key to what?" Kane asked.

 

"Everything..." answered the broken man as he scanned the sea of fractured thoughts for answers to questions too bizarre to utter.

 

--------------

 

"That's a good girl," The Architect said as the great worm belched a slurry of acidic goo onto his gauntlet, the hissing acid decomposing the starsteel at a rate equivalent to the Architect's regeneration of the nearly impenetrable metal. "I knew you would come through for me," he said as the green, fizzling gel slid off of his hand revealing a shiny silver sphere of mysterious origin. He reached behind him and slung a large beast which he had gored into Sally's throat. The hideous worm sucked down the beast as if it were a doggy treat, acids squirting from glands in her mouth to dissolve the tissue and bone of the animal and deliver it in liquid form into her alien digestive system.

 

The worm uttered a bizarre guttural cry of thanks before slinking back into the shadows, perhaps returning home one last time to mourn the loss of her late keeper, or maybe finding her way into a new biohabitat where she could live wild, free, and masterless.

 

The Architect was now in his human form who, starting off as a 30-something in his character profile and quickly aging by way of careless authoring, must surely be in his 70's by now. He clasped the silver sphere between four fingers and gazed at his reflection. This shocked him: the surreal vista of his avatar's reflection being perceived through a life-form's eyes. The sense of individuality was overwhelming and for a moment he felt microscopic - the difference in scale between the infinite universe and this insubstantial, singular vessel was ominous. Was this the curse that he had placed on all forms of life?

 

For a time between moments, he pulled away from his avatar and the object itself and gazed back over the universe, its vastness empowering him, giving him perspective once more. At the edge of galactic space, quasars boiled with energy, their plasma radiating the light of a million suns, fog lights of the universe. Asteroids collided with dead worlds, tailless comets drifted in deep space, giant storms churned the clouds of gas giants. He loved it and he would stop at nothing to preserve it.

 

Squatting on the floor of the ice cave he had found himself in, he rolled the sphere between his fingers once more, its unassuming form masking the true scope of its capability. All this time, it was here. That is why he couldn't find it. It was here, within the object...

 

"I've found you," he whispered to it before placing it into his masterfully-crafted, designer chinchilla satchel.

 

He stood up and gazed out of the mouth of the cave at the lands below. A strange place, the object was, and his plans to undo it were now slowly coming into focus.

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"I'm done here," The Architect thought aloud. With the key in his possession the plan could be carried out without a hitch; the only catch now was getting it out of the object. Once that was done, he was confident that he'd be able to create the perfect existence and ensure that the object would have no part in it.

 

He stepped to the rim of the ice cave entrance and looked out at the plains below, a chilly mist caressing the flats and coloring them pale blue. If the object had any plans to stop him, it certainly wasn't being loud about it. The Architect kept silent and took another step forward, slanting his feet with the slope of the mountainous wall of the room and allowing himself to slide down into the mist and come to a halt at where the mountain met the plains. The cool fog was now above his head by several feet, thickening by layers and obscuring the ceiling from view, though everything else wasn't nearly obscured. He turned his glance to his satchel and dusted it off a bit while also making sure that the key was still there. It was.

 

The trek through the fog was relatively uneventful, with the most exciting aspect being when The Architect had to take one of his steps an amazing two inches higher than the last. The scenery did very little changing from beyond the very slight, mossy hills, and the fog wasn't tiring out any time soon. The Architect looked back at the wall he came from every few minutes, judging the distance carefully. He was definitely making progress, so there were hopefully no tricks at hand that had him going in circles.

 

There was a sudden noise: a drop. A small something had collided with water somewhere, but The Architect couldn't tell where it came from. As he pivoted to look behind, his left foot suddenly sank into the ground, followed by his right, until his whole body dropped through and into what appeared to be a different room, though not by any immense significance. Aside from the absence of fog and a large, crystal clear lake, the room was identical to the one The Architect was just in, having the same hills and a rocky wall with the way into an icy cave. He quickly got his bearings on the few changes in the room and landed on his feet with a resounding thud, the impact causing a few ripples to emanate from the side of the lake he was on.

 

Another noise came, a drop like the one before. The Architect turned to see the same artificial he had encountered when first infiltrating the object, sitting cross-legged and hunched over with a pile of stones in front of him. The Architect's landing did little to disturb the artificial, who only gave a short look at the avatar before gazing back out at the lake.

 

"Yo," he said, then picked up one of the stones and tossed it towards the water. It sank with a plop.

 

"Hello," The Architect replied, watching as the artificial now to be referred to as Sasuke, who he is, for the rest of this post picked up another stone and chucked it. This one sank the same way.

 

"I feel sorry for the chinchilla used to make that bag," Sasuke said, not knowing that even though it was made of genuine chinchilla fur that no actual chinchillas were harmed in its designer-grade construction. While not knowing it, a similar thought had crossed his mind, along with a few others involving anthropomorphic chinchilla girls and genetically engineered snakes that shed chinchilla pelt. He tossed another stone, same result, and looked back at The Architect from the corner of his eye. "Have we met before?"

 

"Can't say we have," The Architect semi-fibbed, semi because Sasuke had encountered the 'dog' but not the middle-aged man with liver spots because some authors think liver spots and middle-agedness go hand in hand along with baldness and icky stained tank tops. Sasuke hummed a thought as he tossed another stone.

 

"Weird, since my... energy is kinda clinging to you," Sasuke said. The Architect looked over his body for a moment. What energy? It was not something he could pick up on, though this was likely due to the object's whims. "You're that creature, aren't you? Be honest, won'tcha?"

 

The Architect chuckled.

 

"You've never seen a dog before?"

 

"Sorry, but where I come from dogs don't have several eyes and more than one set of teeth," Sasuke shrugged. "Takes all kinds, I suppose. There are probably places where caterpillars are cats and the meat grinder is a position."

 

Another stone dropped unimpressively below the surface of the lake.

 

"I came here without expecting it and thought I'd make the most of it," he said. "Mind sharing what you're doing here? You don't gotta tell me, I just thought it'd be nice if I said why I was here before asking your reasons."

 

Another boring plop. The Architect shifted his feet about in his stance, deliberating whether or not he should continue conversing with this automaton.

 

"This place," he paused, going over his thoughts again as Sasuke waited, frozen in mid-throw. "This place threatens something I hold dear. I want to dispose of it so I can proceed without fears."

 

"Threatens something you're attached to, huh?" Sasuke said, resuming his throw. The previous monotony was broken when the stone skipped once on the water's surface before sinking. "How's that, if you don't mind my asking?"

 

"It..." The Architect stopped. How could he phrase his godly dilemma in a way this machine could comprehend? He was quick to put together the words. "Its intentions are unspoken, and it does not answer to my actions."

 

"So you assume the worst, huh?" Sasuke said. The next stone sank without a skip. "Glass half empty, no news is bad news, a pickle a day?"

 

"Clinging to positive notions would be the same as letting down my guard," The Architect said. "I care too much for what is at risk to allow such a vulnerability to exist."

 

"No progress without sacrifice, they say," Sasuke said, lobbing a stone that skipped twice. The Architect didn't put too much thought into what he said: such loss for gain was a trouble mortals had to contend with. "You're sure about wanting to get rid of this thing? Do you really feel it could pose such a threat to you?"

 

"I believe I answered that already," The Architect said.

 

"Have you tried asking?"

 

"That is absurd," The Architect said, having already read along some of Sasuke's thoughts to formulate a quick answer.

 

"Absurd, maybe, but impossible?" Sasuke said. There was a single skip. "I'd like to think not. I'm a firm believer of the phrase 'anything is possible', even being as contradicting as it is, what with 'anything' including 'impossible' and such."

 

"How would you go about asking?" The Architect said, crossing his arms.

 

"Like this," Sasuke said, then stood up, threw his head back, and shouted, "HEY GARDEN!! I GETZA QUESTION FER YEHZ!!"

 

His exaggerated voice echoed once through the large room. The Architect was busy trying to think of a response to the outburst when a large portion of space a few feet from Sasuke became warped, a Bouncer emerging from the waves in space-time.

 

"Hnnnggkpkpkguhrrrrrttppfffff," it said.

 

"Yo," Sasuke said, having quickly adopted a more casual pose. "Can you tell me that guy's name?"

 

He pointed towards The Architect. The Bouncer looked towards the middle-aged avater, then looked down at Sasuke's feet. It sputtered and shook a bit before managing a response.

 

"The Architect," it said, then blurted out a myriad of noises as a possible consequence of having said something completely stable. Sasuke nodded thanks and raised a non-offensive finger to stop the Bouncer as it turned to leave.

 

"More stones, please?" he asked, indicating the diminished pile of rocks he was previously seated before.

 

"Gkk... pfffffff... ssstttoooooohnzzzgggq," the Bouncer replied, then waved the opposite end of its trident over the pile. A miniature flux occurred and rocks tumbled out, replenishing the pile to its former glory. Sasuke gave a second nod of gratitude and kept his fingers to himself, allowing the Bouncer to leave the same way it arrived.

 

"I thought I'd ask since you already know mine," Sasuke said, giving The Architect an accusing, but not necessarily negative, look. "I'm kinda aware of that stuff and would appreciate it if you kept those roving intangible fingers to yourself, Mr. Necessary Article."

 

The Architect laughed.

 

"Fair enough, Sasuke... you red-oiled machine," The Architect said, having dug a bit too deep into what Sasuke was about to do before being brought to the Garden. Sasuke gave a sagely nod of approval and sat back down, resuming his battle against gravity, water, and algae. Two skips. The Architect coughed. "What are you doing?"

 

"Tossin' rocks, don't read too much into it," Sasuke said. Plop. "I probably should've started a fight with you... but I guess I'm just feeling off. I was so charged when I first realized what was going on, but there's so much... seriousness in the air. Not enough good vibes, you know?" One skip. "I did meet two guys recently that scrapped, which was cool, but one of them got disqualified for the rest of the fight. I never got the chance to fight him, either, so that probably has me bummed, too."

 

Plop. The Architect tilted his head inquisitively.

 

"You talk as if this isn't the first time something like this has happened," he said.

 

"Far from it, yo," Sasuke laughed. Two skips. "Unless I missed one... this should be the ninth occurrence thus far. Mind that this place hasn't been notably involved until now, the purpose is essentially the same, I wanna say."

 

"This is the first I've heard of this," The Architect said, looking down towards the moss at his feet, though his thoughts weren't directed towards this pleasantly soft flora. One skip.

 

"You're a creator god, aren't you?" Sasuke said. The Architect lifted his glance, his face, or at least the face of his avatar, showing surprise. "You got that sort of sense to you. All-important, all-knowing, cheesed off at the slightest incomprehensible inconvenience?"

 

"All that exists is but a speck in the grand scheme of things," The Architect said. "In the end, my existence is all that really matters, as well as what I do and plan to do. Most everything else is unnecessary, a byproduct, meaningless when all is said and done."

 

"Oof, that's harsh," Sasuke said. Plop. "But, you know... you can't have been responsible for EVERYTHING. Take this place, for example. That's why you're attempting to get rid of it, right?"

 

"It appeared without my consent," The Architect said. "In an existence that started with me, there should have only been that which I willed, and yet the object appeared, taunting me."

 

"Anything is possible, including the likelihood that the Unknown Garden has it out for you," Sasuke said. "But as far as I can see, this place isn't really bad. I mean, it's not exactly good, either, but I'm not getting any evil intent from it."

 

Two skips. This had occurred to The Architect, but he had ruled it out as being just another of the object's illusions, though such things were blocked off from him prior to sending an avatar into the world. It sounded believable coming from this strange machine for some reason. Two skips.

 

"I have seen many places I recognize, many lifeforms I recognize, all of which were meant to be destroyed," The Architect said. One skip. "But I have also seen things within this place that are as alien as the object itself. Most of the fighters I've encountered... including you... I am not responsible for their being, but I am able to read them as if they were." Plop. "Is this lapse a grace from the object? You seem to know. Care to enlighten me?"

 

"No offense, but your selfishness has probably kept you from accepting the possibility that you have, in fact, NOT created everything, which, by what you just said, supports that," Sasuke started. Plop. "There are many dimensions, many universes, many existences, not just one. I don't know who the REAL creator is, or if there ever was one, and I don't care to know, but I have noticed restrictions placed on deities of your caliber." One skip. "Your existence is your existence, but you can't go barging into other ones without some condition or price. Heck, you might be barred completely, not even being given the grace of comprehending other places."

 

One skip.

 

"You want to get rid of this place, but you can't do it with your godly might, right? You had to enter the Unknown Garden by its terms, but at the same time the Garden might also be subject to restrictions." Two skips. "I was brought here, but I never felt condemned here. Some of the folks here were called and had it completely in their choice to come or not. The Unknown Garden might be big and imposing, but it couldn't do much, it could only pull one or two here and had to call the others." Plop. "When it appeared in your existence, it might've just been visiting. Maybe the Garden had its start in your existence, or maybe it never had a start at all? It might've just faded into this big ol' mess of stuff with no definite point of entry."

 

Three skips.

 

"To answer your initial question, yeah, the Garden, or object as you call it, might be giving you the freedom to look into those you didn't create. It is undoubtedly the equalizer of this 'bout, the thing that would make mice stand up to bears, make Spongebob a worthy opponent for Goku, and have Sephiroth get more trouble from Bozo the Clown then Cloud ever gave him." Plop. "You can feel free to try and destroy it, but I doubt that's possible. I honestly think this Garden was just calling us all together to have a big ol' bash, only with less cake and more bleeding."

 

Sasuke sighed, throwing yet another rock. One skip.

 

"That's why all the seriousness is just taking its toll on me," he said, picking up another rock as he stood. "It's hard to crack a joke at a burial when you don't know the family, friends, directors, and carcass. Of course, I know some of the guys here, but that doesn't change what I was trying to get across."

 

Sasuke gave a refined move of the arm, his wrist going just the right way, his fingers loosening at the right moment. The stone skipped all the way to the other side of the lake.

 

"A big pill to swallow, I believe the saying is," The Architect said, chuckling a bit to himself.

 

"It's probably a suppository, then," Sasuke said, handing a stone to The Architect. "I mean, this isn't a suppository. I'm just wondering if you wanna throw one."

 

The Architect shrugged, taking the stone in hand and looking it over intently, then gazing out at the pristine lake. He squinted, wound back his arm, and slung the stone. It also skipped across the entire lake.

 

"And there's nothing to look into regarding this?" The Architect asked.

 

"I'm just skippin' stones, man."

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

AND NOW A VERSION FOR THE ATTENTION-SPAN-CHALLENGED

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

The Architect has key and look ice ooh Sasuke n' rocks plop^274 "Wut" "N-n-n-knockers!" "Joys!"

 

bbecc932c27d117fc94c257b927734dda525a0e0.png

 

And more of my not-so-subliminal blithering towards the situation. Zoop a-do woop a do-wa voop![/cosby]

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As the stone landed on the far bank, The Architect pondered the artificial's comments. The ripples in the lake slowly spread across the water, the oldest one larger than the next, forming a cone-shaped trail of perfectly circular waves all the way to shore. These were the waves of causality, of a being's impact on the world. Just as a stone skips along the water, leaving its mark, so do all life-forms serve a purpose in the universe, their actions creating ripples through the fabric of space-time. That is why he had created life, they were stones in the lake of existence, each significant in some way.

 

He was a bit disappointed at the artificial's misinterpretation of his intentions, though. As with the one called Kane, The Architect had once again underestimated a mortal being's ability to comprehend the true nature of things. With these two, however, it almost seemed as if there was someone authoring their actions and responses, some grand puppeteer, speaking through them as a way to relay a message or opinion about his actions, or possibly his very existence, and steer the plot with sheer decree rather than cause-and-effect. Perhaps the influence of the object was bending these organisms' speech and dialog, granting them a greater perception of current events than could be expected of a being who lacked omniscience.

 

The artificial continuously accused him of being too "serious" and urged him to simply participate in this bizarre melee without questioning its unwelcome construct. But if this were some grand story authored by some twisted soul, no, many twisted souls, would The Architect himself not also serve some purpose in this harried plot? Would all participants in this bizzare, hypothetical universe, have to be the inexplicable goofy comic relief giving way to a one-sided reality? Did he not serve some balance to it all? Wasn't that the point of it all, being a creator god vs. say, a god-man hybrid or a god-turned-mortal? Was it not his purpose to bring balance to the universe once again?

 

Becoming comfortable with this assessment, considering that he WAS the creator of the universe despite the robot's suggestion to the contrary, he gently scratched his liver spots, ran his fingers once more over his chinchilla satchel, and picked up another stone.

 

Besides, he thought to himself as he chucked the unusually smooth piece of rock into the water, if this really WERE some grand story written by a mysterious panel of divine authors greater than even himself, then the one known as Sasuke had nothing to fear: one of the participants could simply use their own creativity and writing skills to sway the plot in whatever direction they pleased. If they wished not for the "garden" to be destroyed, then they could simply will it and it would not be so...

 

Thankfully, however, there were no divine authors and he WAS the true architect of creation and his plan would not be obstructed... unless...

 

No... how can this be? The Architect thought to himself as he patted the chinchilla hand-bag feeling for the object it contained only seconds before.

 

"No!" he shouted out loud this time looking across the lake in the direction of his most recent "stone" toss as a small silver sphere skipped across the water for a few moments before sinking below the rippling surface. He was shocked and angered by his momentary lapse of focus.

 

"Loose something?" Sasuke questioned, almost ironically.

 

"NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! ...I mean, yes..." exclaimed the angry god as he focused on the water in the lake wrapping his very existence around each molecule, spinning them faster and faster, throwing them about.

 

A light fog appeared over the surface of the water and grew heavier with each passing second. Fish began to float to the top of the water followed by large bubbles which erupted with violent splashing.

 

Sasuke used some sensor or another to scan the water, reading its temperature as 211.988 degrees Fahrenheit (he never could get used to the metric system) and was actually surprised that the laws of physics still applied in this aberrant place.

 

The bubbling increased in intensity until suddenly, all at once, the entire contents of the lake vaporized releasing a massive billowing cloud of steam.

 

The Architect dashed into the now-empty lake in pursuit of the illusive sphere only to be submerged waist deep in mud within the first few strides. He made a note to make his next avatar lack the property of mass.

 

"Now look what you went and did..." the teal-texted AI started...

 

An awkward moment passed before The Architect turned around to see why Sasuke had not finished his sentence.

 

"What," said the curious god.

 

"Oh, I thought you knew being all divine and such. You just vaporized my pleasant little skipping pool and made me all sad. And you know what happens when Sasuke gets sad..."

 

"No, not really," The Architect admitted, not having paid much attention to the robot's life.

 

"He gets MAD, yo!" The comment was not just some nonsensical banter like most of his utterances, as he truly did have a faulty logic chip that fired the same signal to his emotional neural-net for both sadness and anger-inducing stimuli.

 

And with that he randomly lobbed a Frost Bomb at The Architect who, taking a direct hit and not having fully recovered enough from his last battle to summon his warrior form at full strength, froze solid in the mud.

 

"Now, don't be a stick in the mud, yo!" Sasuke shouted at the godsicle with girlish glee triggered by the cleverness of the cheesy one-liner.

 

Having the short attention span that he did, he very quickly became bored again by the overwhelming lack of movement on his opponent's part and decided to draw a Mario mustache on The Architect while he planned what to do next...

 

---------------------------------------------------

 

"Ya see that?" Kane nudged his companion's arm.

 

They both stared at the giant cloud of steam rising above the tree-line at the foot of a distant mountain range.

 

"What d'you suppose it is? A smoke signal?"

 

"That's no smoke, but it sure is a signal of some happening or another..." Mebeus said. He glanced down from the ridge he and Kane were standing on at the flames that had enveloped the late Zookeeper's house. His headless body lay inside, the flesh cooking over the coals of the home he had built with his bare hands. Mebeus cared not to give the man a proper burial, but only to obscure the events that had recently transpired there. It was a funeral by fire.

 

The two set off on foot over the plain, descending from the ridge into the waste-high grasslands that preceded the rocky forest beyond.

 

The Oroboro had lodged within the Unknown Garden long enough to know that when clouds rise from the mountains, excitement is not too far off.

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"Wait a sec," Sasuke said, pausing halfway through the coloring-in of the Mario-stache. His crusty logic chip stopped freaking out long enough to relieve his mastication hard drives and bosom detectors of the onslaught of sparks it had been letting off, and also enabled him to achieve a level of thought more stable then when he was making nonsense fall from his large jaw. He started thinking over what had happened, the words made by both creator and co-creator through their creations, their roles interchangeable by which one was pulling the proverbial strings and determining what words were most likely true. He might have been wrong about The Architect by lumping him in with his own interpretation of creator gods, he might have been wrong about everything contained in the teal ocean his guiding hand had coaxed out of him, and he might have been wrong when he wrote cheese as the answer to two plus two.

 

"HmmmMMMmmm," Sasuke hmmed, slowly finishing his mark of triumph on The Architect's mug. Someone had done something wrong, or someone was too easily shaken in their resolve, but this was all a distraction from what Sasuke really should have been doing. His ethereal self immediately went about correcting these wrongs by screwing up more of Sasuke's behavioral circuitry.

 

"I've been looking at everything wrong," Sasuke said, spiritually focused enough to act beyond the damage he was doing to his system. "All this seriousness I felt, it hasn't been coming from others, it's been coming from ME. I was out here tossing rocks in an incredibly not-to-be-read-into-damnit way when I should have been making box traps with pie for bait. So this is it, no more serious Sasuke. If everything else IS serious like I was first thinking, then I should work to balance it out by getting even CRAZIER then I first set out to do!"

 

With that, Sasuke's greater control took a back seat and allowed his now highly destabilized physical coordinating devices to decide what he would do. His jaw went crooked at the same time his left eye blew out, a disturbing rattle echoing from his body.

 

'This is getting peculiar,' The Architect thought to himself as he watched Sasuke spasm. His thoughts again returned to the possibility of greater, albeit twisted, forces at work, some of which would have liked to get in contact with other forces to decide how best to write the ones at the influence of said working forces. 'Perhaps deciding to humor this artificial's interpretation of my character was not such a good idea. There's no telling how far it must have sunk into the mud by now.'

 

Sasuke abruptly stopped in his standing seizure, peepers probing the puce puddle below. He walked nonchalantly across the mud and knelt down, thrusting his hand deep, and sprung back up to a stand, prize held triumphantly in the air. So delicate a morsel the key was, silvery and shiny, glistening like the softest of stars made softer and swirled together.

 

It made him hungry, so he gobbled it right down.

 

'NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!' The Architect's thoughts yelled in a splash of colors that settled as the pleasant blue shade he plucked from the palette. 'That is no treat to consume without the slightest of savoring, Sasuke! Oh, what dastardly deeds have you sewn!?'

 

Sasuke burped.

 

"ThAT hIT ThE SpoT!!!" he buzzed erratically, broken eye rolling about in the socket. He declared this with right hand on hip, left finger in air, as if expertly imparting some life-changing advice. Sasuke remained stuck in this position as he fell over and got sucked down into the ooze. "THe mUD IS tHiCK LikE NaNA'S ToENaIL."

 

And thus was the scene set, the pit waiting for the two that would arrive in another post, another time.

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