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The Story of a Macaron-Loving Girl Who Lived a Thousand Years Somehow.
by Karate

BOOK 1:
The Story of a Macaron-Loving Girl Who Lived a Thousand Years Somehow.


She opened her eyes to a piercing blue sky.

It was so brilliant as to make her eyes narrow a bit.
Looking absentmindedly upward into the sky, she paced along the concrete.
It was a day like every other.
It was a sky like every other.
Brilliant light shining on the world, a soothing early-summer wind - a day just the same as ever.
And yet, unlike those other days, there had been no sign of Miko at the lab.
"There's something I want to tell you tomorrow..."
The girl pouted angrily, recalling how Miko had told her that yesterday.
As she fumed, she took a macaron from her pocket and munched down on it.

This is the happy story of a macaron-loving fairytale girl.

*

She had been friends with Miko for a long time.
They were always together. They had been for ages.
And she thought that was how it would always be, until that day she went away.

She asked around while eating macarons, "Hey, what happened?"
But the people at the lab Miko worked at told her things like "Perhaps she's been taken by paradise," and "Maybe she did something or another with a wormhole" - just a lot of mumbling she didn't comprehend.
"I don't get it! Gimme a simpler explanation!"
She pressed the lab workers, but they gave her a worried look and scratched their heads.
The cause of Miko's disappearance was still being investigated, so at present, no one truly knew what had happened.

"Will she be back tomorrow?"
"Um... I don't know."
"The day after?"
"Well, we can't say for sure, but Miko may not be back tomorrow, or the day after, or ever again."
"Whaaa? I don't want that! Do something!"
"You can't just tell me to do something..."
The lab workers were all greatly bothered by the girl and refused to look her in the eye.
Bored now that no one was paying attention to her, she continued to worry about Miko while acting like a triceratops.
Meanwhile, lab personnel continued their frantic investigation into the reason of Miko's disappearance.

About a year passed, and the world's most brilliant minds finally ascertained the cause.
When it was revealed, the world was overcome with grief.
Of course, it was a complex matter, so it was all gibberish to the girl.
But there was one thing which even she could pick up on.

That was the fact that Miko had gone one thousand years into the future.

To be precise: September 2nd, 2999 CE.
A date far, far, and further still than that into the future.
In a world where humans may or may not even live.

It seemed that it was all related to a hole in space-time which Miko had tumbled into.
Being that she was the most beautiful and smartest person in the whole lab, the people there were depressed to learn about the incident that befell her - as if they had lost the very sun itself.
Since they were all very smart themselves, they firmly stated that they would never meet Miko again.
But she was only but a macaron-loving fairytale girl, and she didn't quite understand what it all meant.

"Hey, for real, where did Miko go?"
"I told you, a thousand years into the future."
Even after about seventeen repeated exchanges of this sort, the whimsical girl was unaffected.
"You're kidding. She went to the donut shop, didn't she?"
"Nnno, a thousand years into the future."
"Hey, really, tell me the truth!"
"I did! The truth is she went a thousand years into the future!"
"Ugh! I know you said that, you doofus!"
After asking about forty times, and punching lab workers in the stomach for no particular reason, she finally began to understand that Miko really had gone a thousand years into the future.

Still, the girl felt that there must have been something to be done.
After all, she hadn't heard the important thing Miko had to tell her.
Miko had never once broken a promise. So she would surely hear it from her somehow.

She nibbled on a macaron and thought, for the time being, that she might try and live for a thousand years.

*

"So then. How should I go about living a thousand years?"
She asked people around the lab, but they just looked at her and shrugged.
"Um, well... Humans can't live for that long."
"Oh, okay. So then how should I go about living a thousand years?"
"You're not following this at all, are you?"
The lab workers were stunned, and tried to talk her down.
They told her stuff about active enzymes, and the process of aging and whatnot, and all the reasons why humans can't live for over a thousand years.

These things went straight through her ears, and she continued to munch on macarons.
She didn't understand all the complicated things they said.
But what she did know was that eating macarons made her happy.

As she went around asking lab researchers, she eventually found a lone old man who told her this:
"Hmm... It's not necessarily impossible, but this method is somewhat..."
"Really? I'll try it!"
Her head was filled with nothing but Miko and macarons, leaving no room for words like "consequence" or "risk." She accepted the old man's offer without asking any of the details whatsoever.

And so the girl became a test subject for a certain organization.
It was some kind of fantastic experiment involving iPS cells and embryonic stem cells, and mucking about with telomeres to do this and that.
It had begun with meager hopes that they might discover a lifeform capable of living a thousand years, but there wasn't even a one in a million chance of success.
Sure enough, the girl didn't understand a single thing about the medicine, and she made no attempt to.
Even though it was an experiment that had no guarantee of survival (but in exchange for an incredible sum of money), she was most concerned with the fact that she had to hold off on her daily macarons for the time being.

Deep down she vowed, as she downed the medicine the people gave her:
"I'll confront Miko a thousand years from now!"
No one knew it yet, but luckily enough, in that moment, she promptly became immortal.

*

"Those of you who drank the medicine, please return to your rooms."
People from the organization donned in black suits said this, and she returned to her assigned room as told.
As she trotted around and gave the place a look over, she was surprised to find it resembled a high-class hotel. "It won't be too bad living a thousand years somewhere this pretty," she thought.
She arrived at the door to her room and was given a card key by a lady in black.

"It would be very bad if you lost this, so please, take good care of it."
"Yes ma'am!", she energetically replied.
Seeing the girl's innocent smile, the lady in black looked a little worried.
"Whenever you want to enter the room, put the card through there."
She pointed at a slot above the door handle. The girl nodded, and again enthusiastically replied, "I gotcha!"
She put the card in the slot, and the door soundlessly opened. Looking inside the room, she saw massive stacks of manga.
"Whoa, awesome! I haven't seen so much manga in one place since that manga café yesterday!"
"Read them whenever you please."
"Thanks! You're so nice, miss!"
The lady again looked worried and whispered "Not so much," quiet enough that the girl wouldn't hear. Then she quickly left.
The girl spent until the next morning reading Doraemon.

"Subjects, please report to the plaza."

A shrill voice rang out from a nearby speaker, putting an end to her Doraemon vigil.
She didn't want to bother, but decided to head for the plaza.
There, she found others who had drank the medicine yesterday.
However, she soon noticed they were fewer in number, about half of what there had been before.
They looked at each other anxiously, but she just thought "Guess they all slept in late. Man, I should have slept in too...", continuing to page through an issue of Doraemon with one hand.
The subjects drank the medicine again, had their blood drawn, and that was all.
The days continued to go on in this way.

The girl made many friends at the testing facility.

There was the carefree Maa-chan.
She had worked a late-night job to support a boy she liked, but it wasn't working out, so she came to do the experiment. Maa-chan always looked so happy whenever she talked about the boy. Still, sometimes she would stand outside and gaze lonely into the night sky.

There was the ever-angry Kei-kun.
He loved to watch horses, and in the process of watching them run every day, somehow went completely broke, so he came here. He said that once the experiment was over and he had lots of money, he'd like to go watch the horses again.

There was the usually-flustered Yuu-chan.
She grew a kind of plant that made you happy whenever you smoked it, but it made some important people angry at her. But she wasn't discouraged; hoping that everyone would become happy, she spread the seeds of her plant in the nation's waterways. She soon found herself taken here. She said that once she got lots of money and could get out of there, she would go around spreading her seeds to make the whole world happy.

There was Satomi-chan, who was quiet, didn't talk much, and had lots of cuts on her arm.
They had clearly been self-inflicted, but the girl couldn't have known that. So she figured that Satomi-chan must have fought a powerful foe indeed to have suffered such wounds, and thus always looked upon her with respect. She and Satomi-chan would laze around reading manga together, and the former would kindly watch over the latter.

Every day after the experiment, everyone would gather in the girl's room, play with the her pastel pink hair, and talk all night about their lives before they arrived. The girl would only ever talk about macarons, so she was just called Macaron-chan.
She had never had any friends besides Miko, so passing the days with such friendly people was refreshing and a joy for her. She was glad to have earned a nickname, too - so glad she would skip around her room daily when she was alone.

Even so, there were less people showing up to the testing site by the day.
The bustling congregation of over five hundred people had been reduced to an easily-countable number.
On the twentieth day of the experiment, Kei-kun didn't come to the testing site.
Until then, the girl had thought people were all getting bored of the experiment and going home.
But with Kei-kun's disappearance, she realized that was not the case.
He had no money; he had to stay here to the end.
There was no chance that he would suddenly go home in the midst of it.

"Where'd you take Kei-kun?!", she somewhat angrily asked the lady in black. She replied with her usual slightly-concerned look.
"Kei-kun has, unfortunately, died. But you were told all this in the beginning, weren't you? You all signed up for this with full knowledge of what could happen."
"Huh, really...? Guess there's not much you can do about that, huh."
"Yes. So please, stop low-kicking the other researchers."
Since the lady in black told her so, she stopped kicking the old guy in black. And she solemnly told him "I'm sorry" on the spot.

Still, she was certainly not thinking "Oh well, what can you do?" deep down.
She had never really listened to any explanations, or fully understood what was going on to begin with. That day, she drank the medicine with the others feeling a little more down than usual.
Yuu-chan started coughing, like she had drank too much water.
Everyone laughed at this, and she said "Hey, don't make fun of me!" with an embarrassed grin.

Yuu-chan didn't come to the testing site the next day.

That was when the girl decided she would escape the facility.

*

The next day, she had made up her mind to escape. "Hey, we should go together!"
Maa-chan and Satomi-chan did not respond to her suggestion. They just listened to her in silence.

The day after that, Maa-chan and Satomi-chan came to her room.
"We're going to stay until the end," they said.
"Why? Let's go!"
The two sadly smiled at her.

"I'm... I'm sorry. We were prepared for this, and we have our reasons for staying until we get the money. But we'll be okay. We've made it this far, so we'll survive to the end."
Satomi-chan handed the girl a piece of paper. "Here's an address. Once we're done with this immortality experiment, however many years it takes... let's play together, okay? I'm looking forward to the day we meet again, Macaron-chan."
"Alright."
"Well, goodbye."
"It's not goodbye! It's see you later!"
"Right. See you!"

Maa-chan and Satomi-chan did survive to see the last day the girl spent at the facility, and saw her off with smiles.
She was a little sad to leave them behind.
Still, she didn't cry. She would get to talk with them for hours and hours once they met again.

Escaping was unexpectedly easy. Granted, she had Maa-chan and Satomi-chan's help, but when the guards weren't around, the security at the facility was a joke.
She just hopped out a window, and without a look behind her, started running.
Maa-chan and Satomi-chan waved to her from their rooms. And they kept on waving, until the girl was long out of sight.
She was running for her life, so she didn't even notice them.

One might wonder what they looked like at that moment.
Were they smiling?
Or were they in tears?
She didn't know.

Because after that, she never met those two again.

*

After running for about an hour, she noticed that not a single person from the facility was chasing her.
"Whaaat? Shouldn't have bothered running...", she thought to herself.
She also realized that even after an hour of running, she was barely even tired.
It was just a feeling she had, but she finally began to recognize that she had indeed become immortal.
She climbed a tall hill and looked out toward the facility, but saw no sign of anyone trying to follow.
She gave up on running then, and instead went on walking at a brisk pace for sixteen hours.
Having become immortal, she still didn't feel tired at all afterward. However, toward the end, her stomach kept rumbling.
This taught her that even if a girl is immortal, walking at a brisk pace for sixteen hours still makes one hungry.

She kept walking aimlessly.
She had no idea where she was now.
None of the roads she walked had she seen before.
She wandered for about a week, until she found a rather large town. She decided to go in.
She found signs, but they were full of names of places she'd never before seen nor heard of. She felt just a little lonely to be in such an unfamiliar place.

However, it was more concerning to her that she was hungry.
Her stomach had been making an adorable rumbling sound, but now it was a louder, unpleasant sort of grumble.
Of course, though, she wouldn't die of hunger. No matter what happened, she was still immortal.
But it made her happy to eat tasty food, so food was a necessary resource for preserving her happiness.
So the girl began fishing through garbage cans.
And thus was the birth of an immortal hobo.

"What's with that girl...?"
"What the heck...?"
The townspeople all whispered the same sort of thing upon seeing the pretty pastel pink-haired girl, who also seemed quite young, digging through garbage.
They all glanced at her, and some stopped, and talked amongst themselves, and took pictures.
But in the end, they acted like they hadn't been looking her way at all.
It was an unbelievably out-of-the-ordinary event that they suddenly found before them, so it was an understandable reaction.
"Ooh, found some cake today! Hooray!"
Wholly ignorant to the people around her, she dug around in the trash next to a sweets shop, happily eating the leftovers.
If you asked her, they were some average yet perfectly happy days. She was a tough one.

"Why are you rummaging through the trash?"
A curious old man appeared about two weeks after the girl took up her hobo life.
He wore a worn-out suit, and looked to be in his late forties. The girl was happily stuffing her cheeks with a pound cake he had thrown away.
"I can't die, but I feel like I'm going to when I'm hungry, so I'm looking for food," she cheerfully told him.
"I see... I don't quite understand, but I suppose I get the gist of it."
"This is really tasty!"
"But you'll ruin your stomach eating stuff from the garbage."
Of course, the girl was immortal, so she could subsist solely on concrete and it wouldn't ruin her body at all.
But the old man couldn't have known that, so he felt bad for her.

The old man produced a macaron from his pocket and handed it to the girl.
"Eat this."
"Can I really have it?!"
Having not seen a macaron in a while, the girl was very enthused, and did a spin in place.
The old man softly laughed at the simple-minded girl.
"Ahaha, of course! You're on the verge of death, I'll bet."
"I'm definitely not going to die, but thank you! Hooray!"
"What a strange girl..."
She finished the old man's macaron in three seconds flat, and impudently declared "I want more!"
"Well, I don't have any on me, but I might have some at home," he said with a bitter smile, scratching his head.
"Let's go to your house!", she said without a moment's delay.
She followed right behind the old man as they walked to his house. She was an impudent one.

*

"Whoa, it's so big! What a house!"
They arrived at an elegant house with a garden. She was amazed at the size of the house, unimaginable to her from the raggedness of the old man's suit.
"Come on inside."
"Okay!"
She went inside as told, and found it to be very spacious. There was a big entryway with many shoe shelves, and a pretty System Kitchen.
The sprawling living room had very little in the way of furniture, making its size stand out even more.

Arriving at the living room, the old man retrieved a macaron from a Shinto shrine and gave it to the girl.
On the shrine was a portrait of a young girl.
"My daughter loved them, you know...", the old man said, looking at the portrait. From behind, it seemed as if he was crying.
The old man seemed terribly lonely, and so as the girl ate the macaron, she couldn't help but stroke the old man's head.
"Life always has good things in store. Keep at it!"
The old man cracked a smile at her comment.
"Keep at it, hm? Yes, I will."
"Good!"
"Why, it's almost as if my daughter has come back to life," the old man remarked.
Just then, the girl became anxious with the thought that Miko might have died in the future.

"Anywhere you're trying to get to?", the old man asked, facing the happily-eating macaron-loving girl.
The girl lowered her head in thought. After a while, her face suddenly lit up with realization.
"Well, I guess I have to go a thousand years in the future."
"A thousand years? That won't be easy."
"Oh, you don't believe me, do you? I'm sure you don't. Believe it!" She poked the old man's sides.
"All right, I believe you, I believe you!"
"Good!"
With a satisfied look, the girl returned to her work of eating macarons. The old man sat down on a cushion in the living room and lit a cigarette. He seemed very happy to watch her eat.

"So then, how does waiting here a thousand years sound?", the old man said once the girl was done, seeming stuffed full of macarons.
"Ooh, that's a good plan!"
"It is, isn't it?"
"Thank you very much!"
"No, I should be thanking you."
"Oh, all right... I'll let you thank me."
"Hmm..."
And the old man laughed again.

*

Living with the old man was extremely pleasant for her.
He would buy her macarons every day without fail.
She loved macarons more than any other food, so that alone made her truly happy.

Lately, she was really into donating blood, and best of all was that they gave her candy for doing it.
They aren't supposed to draw blood until after a period of three months since you last donated, but she went once a week and became good friends with the doctor there.
There wasn't much else to do besides that, however, so she had a lot of time on her hands.
"You're bored, huh?", the old man would comment, and it always made her slightly angry.
"No, I was busy watching the ants in the park, and counting pebbles in the sand pit, and counting stains on the ceiling!"
She said this as she stared absentmindedly into the colorfully-gleaming sky.
In any case, yes, she was bored.

At times, the old man would convulsively burst into tears.
Whenever she heard sniffling from the bedroom, the girl would stroke his head softly.
She never asked why he was crying, or said a word about his daughter.
However, every time she consoled the old man, she asked for a payment of three macarons.

Though she lived with the old man, she knew nothing about him.
She didn't know what he did during the day, or his favorite foods, or what his hobbies were, or why he lived in such a large house by himself. Or if he had friends, or where his wife went.
She considered these things unimportant, and it never even crossed her mind that she should ask them.
In fact, at the time, she never even considered that she should talk to him more, or pat him on the head more.

*

She lived with the old man in this way for eight years and eighty-two days.
He became sick on the fifty-second day of the eighth year, and died on the eighty-second.
He died of a contagious disease of unknown origin spreading around the world.
The incubation period could be several years or several days. It didn't show any symptoms until about a month before it caused death, and presently nothing could be done to cure it.
The girl didn't know it, but it was the very same illness that had taken the old man's daughter.

She was immortal, so it was no problem for her, but for ordinary people it was just the opposite. The illness spread in no time at all, engulfing the entire town.
One after another, the townspeople died off, until she was the only one left.
The still air and the cold wind told of the death that had stricken the now-empty town.
But the girl survived.
Alas, she survived them all.

"Idiot..."

Alone in the town, the girl muttered to herself.
"When you're dead, you can't buy me macarons anymore, can you...?"

She held a funeral with no visitors for the old man.
She lit three of his Seven Star cigarettes and laid them on the soil.
The smoke spread through the sky of the uninhabited town.
"I want some of your macarons, old man..."
But there was no reply.
She was saddened, and looked to the sky.
After the old man passed away, the skies were always gray, as if all color had vanished from them.
Looking into the sky, she ate the last macaron the old man had bought for her.
It was delicious, delicious as had been every one since they first met

And the girl cried for a little while.

She finished the macaron, wiped her tears, and walked on ahead.

She kept on walking.
Through endless wastelands.
Through glittering coastlines.
Between swaying trees.
Between towering buildings.
Over the horizons of land.
Over the horizons of sea.
She continued to walk.



On, and on.

*

Some time afterward, a medicine to cure the illness that had taken the old man to his death was developed.
It was made possible by the blood which the girl had donated while living with him, which carried the disease.
When a boy who had the illness was infused with some of her blood, he became the first case of recovery from the illness.
Doctors around the world studied the blood cells, and were able to create a cure for the illness which some had expected to wipe humanity out.
The girl didn't have any kind of identification, so no one knew who had donated the blood.
The miraculous blood cells left by a person unknown were referred to as "God's Drip."

"Thank you so much for saving my life!", the boy who was first to be saved wished he could say to his unknown benefactor.
When asked what he was going to do first once he got out of the hospital, he said something incomprehensible like "I dunno, go to the secret base?" and laughed.

But the macaron-loving fairytale girl who had saved the world couldn't have known about this person, their happiness, and their gratitude.

Instead, she continued to walk along wherever her feet took her.

*

As she walked, roughly a hundred years passed.
In that time, many large countries fell to ruin, throwing the world into much confusion. And many people died in large-scale disputes.
But this didn't have much to do with her, really, so she didn't pay it any mind.
She kept walking without a single thought for a hundred years, but one day, she suddenly thought back to the testing facility where she had once stayed.

"I wonder if Maa-chan and Satomi-chan are doing okay?"

With this sudden thought, she decided she would go visit them.
The address Maa-chan and Satomi-chan gave her was an apartment somewhere in Japan. Come to think of it, they did say that they wanted to hang out in an apartment once the experiment was over and they were immortal.
The girl was in Europe at the time, so she took a year and a half walking briskly back to Japan, and finally arrived at the location of the apartment.
But there was no house at all where it said there should be. Only a single wide road.
She checked again and again, and surely there was no mistake. Surely... The girl was uneasy.
It could be that she would never meet Maa-chan and Satomi-chan again. She was unable to bear that thought.

She went to the facility to inquire about the whereabouts of Maa-chan and Satomi-chan.
When she returned to the site of the nostalgic facility, she found a changed place that showed no signs of it having ever existed.
There was no gorgeous hotel-like testing facility any longer; in its place was a large park and a sky bus terminal.

"Huh? This should be the place..." She tilted her head. Right on cue, a sky bus arrived.
She knew nothing about the fate of Maa-chan and Satomi-chan, so for the time being she got on the bus.
It being her first time riding, the view from the sky was one she had never seen before; even for one who had lived over a hundred years, it was a totally fresh look of the world.
The scenery swirling around the bus was so dazzling, she had to squint.

The bus was deserted.
Other than an old man sitting down, there was no one else around.
"Hey, old man? Was the facility at that place we were at torn down?"
She was about fifty years older than the old man, but she didn't fuss over that detail and just rudely called the old man "old man" anyway.
He was a little surprised to be suddenly spoken to by a young pastel pink-haired girl (age 126).
Still, he answered the brazen girl's question.

"Happened when I was just little, I believe. Seems they were doing something shady, and it got exposed. Not sure of the details about what they were doing, but heard it was pretty tragic."
"What about Maa-chan? And Satomi-chan?"
The girl was getting a little scared over the frightful things the old man was saying, so she asked that in somewhat of a panic. He had not a clue what she was talking about.
The man scratched his neck and forced a smile. "Hmm... Don't know."
"Maa-chan and Satomi-chan promised we'd play together."
"Sorry, I wouldn't know anything," he said, his face sorrowful.

The man went on to inform the girl of various things.
That he hadn't heard anything about people from the facility who were still alive now, and how the experiments conducted in the hospital there produced no results, and how even now the idea of attaining immortality was a total pipe dream.
He told her everything.
She didn't understand. But perhaps this one and only time, it was actually that she didn't want to understand.

Still, she somehow knew that she wouldn't be seeing Maa-chan and Satomi-chan again.

"Well then, I'll be getting off here. I'm not sure I understand your situation, but don't let things get you down."
After talking for about an hour, the old man arrived at his stop - or at least said he did - and disembarked.
The now totally empty sky bus was completely silent, and the loneliness swelled.
The girl heaved open one of the bus's windows. She suddenly lept into the dizzyingly changing scenery, and the wind whipped at her skin.
Disembarking from the window, she boldly fluttered down from the sky bus.
She felt good with the strong wind blowing against her, and the ground grew before her.
Maa-chan and Satomi-chan were no longer in this wide world she saw.
In fact, it was likely everyone she ever knew was no longer anywhere to be found.
The world was always so large, and her always alone.

I wonder if Miko is doing well?

This thought suddenly crossed her mind mid-fall.
And then she did a dive into a lake.

*

In the year 2200, the effects of global warming caused various landmasses worldwide to sink into the sea.
The excess of carbon dioxide warmed the water, so it would be only a matter of time before deep-sea methane hydrate started melting.
Once that came to pass, the Earth's temperature would exponentially increase, and in time mankind would surely perish.
This theory seemed highly plausible to many.

People living along coastlines frenetically supported eco-friendliness.
This eco-boom knew no stopping; in Australia especially, where the effects of global warming were very evident, there began a religious organization called the Eco Saviors that made up the majority of the effort.
Everyone in the west hemisphere, before meals, and before bed, would wave around a green stick and offer prayers to the god Eco-Eco.
But the majority of humanity, which had given up on trying to live in this world, sat at home with the air conditioning at full blast, living hopeless days.

And as the people of the world converted to lives of indoor despair, the girl swam in the ocean every day.
She loved sea bathing, so the global warming greatly pleased her.
In near-boiling heat, she went swimming in the ocean about twenty-six times a week.
She felt digital swimsuits didn't match her skin, so she swam in the nude for three-hundred-sixty-five days.

As she swam, decades passed in the blink of an eye.
In that time, two-sevenths of the world's landmass became sea.
People felt as if it were the end of the world, and annual suicide rates at last broke 150 million.
Suicides started outnumbering births in this pre-doomsday scenario.
In Japan, they gave up on the notion of "spring, summer, autumn, winter" and divided the year into "hot season" and "slightly less hot season."
So no one remembered the former celebrity who sang "In Spring it is the Dawn" anymore.

Soon, humanity's greatest fear was realized.
The deep-sea methane hydrate began to melt.
A countdown for the death of all mankind quietly began.
In this doomed world, people sought salvation in religion. By then, believers in the Eco Saviors vastly outnumbered Christians.
As people all over worshipped their new, unknowable god Lord Eco-Eco, the end drew near.

And still the girl kept sea bathing.
As a result of swimming twenty-four hours a day for decades, her skin was tanned light brown, and she became very healthy.
She had mastered swimming, and had lately gotten into swimming the Pacific with a butterfly stroke.
"Hooray for global warming!", she shouted to no one in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

*

One day in the middle of her vacationing, a small meteorite crashed into Earth.
It landed right on a beach the girl was swimming near.
Luckily enough she was the only one nearby, as the impact was so staggering it would have instantly killed anyone else in a five-hundred-meter radius.
But the girl was an tough, immortal, macaron-loving fairytale girl, so she was fine.

"Boy, that surprised me!"
The girl had been thrown a ways by the impact and landed on the beach. Rubbing her head, she went to investigate the source.
There was a small crater formed by the meteorite, telling of the severity of the impact.
"Puyopuyopuyo..."
As she approached the meteorite, she became aware of a strange sound.
She slowly drew near the source of the cute blobby noise.

She found a strange white marshmallow-like creature.
"What the? Are you mochi?"
"Puyopuyo!"
"Whoa, it spoke!"
White, round, small... A creature she had never seen before was bouncing around the meteorite.
"Geez, this is kinda scary! Scary creature I can't comprehend!"
The immortal girl was actually the most incomprehensible creature present, but the bouncing white creature had no way of offering that comeback.
When the creature saw the girl, it tumbled onto the sand, approached her feet, then lept up onto her arm.
"Aww! Now that I look at you, you're really cute!"
She quickly took a liking to the creature.

It started out energetically hopping around her arm, but gradually began to tire.
Even its blubbing seemed less enthusiastic than it had been at first.
"Are you hungry? Hold on a second."
The girl took out a donut from a rucksack and offered it to the creature.
"Puyooo!" The energy returned to it at once.
It fiercely leapt onto the donut and chewed it up.
"Wow, you chow down like a sumo wrestler!"
"Puyopuyo!"
"Aww, you're too cute. I know, I'll give you a name!"
"Puyu!"
"Since you eat food like a sumo wrestler from the word go, from now on I'm calling you Gocchan!"
"Poyopuyun!"
And so she named the creature "Gocchan" and fed it sweets every day.
Gocchan gladly ate up the sweets given to it.
Even in a world on the brink due to global warming, she spent her days playing with the strange creature. She was a carefree one.

*

One day, about a week after she picked up Gocchan, she went to feed it sweets as usual, but found a second Gocchan blubbing around.
"What is THIS?" She could only look on in stupefaction.
When the two Gocchan saw her, they approached with cute blubbing, then quickly ate up all the macarons she was holding in her arms.
"Oh, you're too cute to say no..."
She was one who fundamentally didn't think about complicated things.

*



After that, the Gocchan continued to multiply like rats.
As a result of always giving the cute Gocchan sweets, she realized she now had sixty Gocchan bouncing around her.
Of course, the amount of sweets she had to give them multiplied at the same rate, and she already had to cut down on eating macarons slightly.

The girl knew she was right to worry about the situation, and couldn't just ignore it, so she decided she'd let the Gocchan go.
If things kept going like this, she wouldn't have any more sweets to give them.
If she ended up unable to have some macarons to herself, she would undoubtedly go crazy.
Sometimes, painful decisions must be made for the sake of one's own happiness.

"Sorry... I'm just going to do butterfly stroke...", she muttered to the Gocchan, and continued her wonderful life of vacationing. She had no motivation whatsoever to change her life for the sake of the Gocchan.
To be honest, macarons and vacations were roughly a million times more important to her than the Gocchan. At times, humans can be uncaring creatures indeed.

So she handed the Gocchan over to a kind nearby researcher.
"I'm sorry, Gocchan #1 to #100, but for my own happiness, I'm letting you be happy in the care of this unfamiliar old guy!", she said, pointing to the researcher's house.
Before she knew it, the Gocchan had multiplied to greater numbers still.

"Er, just what are these creatures?"
"They make blubby sounds! Cute, huh? Take good care of them!"
"Just what are they? And what to even call them... What should I do..."
"Name them whatever you like! Good luck!"
With a final instruction to the researcher to be sure to feed them sweets every day, she left with a sigh of relief.
The Gocchan seemed sad as they blubbed at her back.
The researcher who these incomprehensible creatures had been forced upon, too, with eyes like a dead fish, started blubbering along with them.

*

Three years later, the truth about the Gocchan was revealed.
They were a dream organism that inhaled greenhouse gases and exhaled oxygen.
Scientific studies soon began, and every detail about the makeup of the Gocchan was eventually understood.
According to research, it was not sweets but sugar that caused them to multiply. In addition, since they could inhale greenhouse gases to a great degree and make the air harmless, having too many was not a problem.
They were truly seen as saviors of mankind, given the current situation.
Also, if a Gocchan was not given sugar, all that resulted was the noises it made sounding a little sadder; its body seemed totally unaffected. What did the girl even have to worry about?

Five years after research began, all countries had recognized the creatures' utility. Two years after that, systematic methods for increasing their numbers were put into law.
As the multiplying Gocchan blubbed, they sucked up all the world's greenhouse gases, lowering the global climate in an instant.
The clumsy researcher who the girl left the Gocchan with won a Nobel Peace Prize, Nobel Prize for Biology, and a pile of other huge awards like that for his discovery of the world-saving organisms
What's more, he received an absurd sum of money, such that he could eat over a hundred macarons a day for a thousand years and still have cash to spare.

People around the world celebrated the Gocchan as saviors of humanity.
The fluffy white saviors were officially given the name "God."
And, also a fan of their lovable appearance, people did indeed adore them as gods.
Some young people would affectionately refer to them as "God-chan." Later, to make it easier to say, the nickname shifted to "Gocchan."
Miraculously, it was the exact same name the girl had given them.

The macaron-loving girl knew nothing of the times or of this, and happily soaked in the Pacific as always.

*

The year 2456 CE. It was a summer day on which an unusual number of cicadas buzzed. That day, the first intelligent life in space came to Earth.

It had specifically come here from far outside the solar system, and possessed a vastly different thought process from humans.
Within this story, we shall temporarily call the creature Paraporopurun.
The most striking feature of Paraporopurun was its incredible offensive capabilities.
Paraporopurun would wreak destruction and murder in the same way humans would eat breakfast.
The day Paraporopurun landed on Earth, all the people of Nagano prefecture were decimated like bits of sand.

But this was only one of Paraporopurun's fearsome characteristics. Another was its spirit link.
Right as Paraporopurun landed on Earth, it divided into clones of itself.
No matter how far they strayed from each other, they all immediately knew who was under what attack, and who was eating what food.
Paraporopurun was quite smart as well, so no matter what strategies humans thought up, it could quickly figure them out and devise a counter.
Patriot Missiles, laser weaponry, atomic bombs, hydrogen bombs, they all had little effect on Paraporopurun. They were like fish bones to it.
Its seventy-six eyes bulging, its three-thousand-five-hundred-four hearts beating, using its long, three thousand arms which had three hundred million lungs attached, Paraporopurun continued its massacre.
It had only multiplied to a hundred, yet that was still plenty to annihilate humanity.

After its landing in 2456, Paraporopurun decimated half of humanity in less than thirty years.
Europe was particularly devastated, and it was unclear if the people there had been reduced to particles or atoms.
The Basilica was demolished like someone playing Sim City, and the Alps were pressed flat. Paraporopurun bathed in the Rhine, contaminating it with strange, unknown fluids and turning the water a purplish red. Stonehenge was tossed outside the atmosphere and became space debris.

Humanity tried developing biological weapons to use against Paraporopurun, but they were generally fruitless.
Whatever weapons they developed, Paraporopurun would turn them to dust in about three seconds.
The sole success among these was a human girl who was turned into a biological weapon.
The girl, about fifteen years old, carried unknown substances in her body and was surprisingly effective as a weapon.
But even humanity's greatest inventions did not succeed in wiping out Paraporopurun.

By the happy turn of the century in 2500 CE, the population had shrunk to two hundred million.
A look at anyone's eyes could tell you that annihilation was at hand.
Amid all this, the girl with much time on her hands was exploring the ocean deep carefree.
With her immortality, she was even able to live deep under the sea.

*

When the girl surfaced for the first time in fifty years, the world above had changed drastically.
No trace of her favorite sweets shop remained, and the roads were all riddled with potholes.
She was too surprised to speak, and started spinning and twirling along the concrete. She span, then fell right into a pothole in front of her.
"Ow!", she quietly muttered, having hit her head on the hole.
"So this isn't a dream, huh..."
She recognized that she was seeing reality.
She walked around, wanting to know why things had gotten like this.
She traveled all around Japan, but everywhere was similarly barren.
The Tokyo Skytree had been snapped, Sapporo Dome was flipped upside-down, the golden Shachihoko had been smashed and tossed to the sea, and Lake Biwa was a towering sand dune.
People's faces were devoid of life, expressionless as if they were already dead.

When she arrived in Okinawa, she saw a young girl and a strange creature on top of Shuri Castle ramming each other with incredible speed.
The macaron-loving girl didn't know that the latter was Paraporopurun, but she did recognize that it wasn't a creature of this earth.
The girl fighting was very clearly weary, having taken many severe wounds. After battling for nearly thirty minutes, the girl and Paraporopurun emitted a blinding light and vanished into the northwestern sky.
After bearing witness to this, the girl could only sigh "Sure is a dangerous world these days."
Honestly, as long as she could eat macarons, she didn't care that much about the annihilation of humanity.

However, the way things were going soon became less insignificant to the girl.
She had endured while exploring the deep sea, but since she was back on the surface, she wanted to go find a sweets shop. However, she had seen none anywhere she'd gone in Japan.
As a result of Paraporopurun's world devastation, her macaron supply line had been completely destroyed.
In these desperate times, if you had the time to make macarons, you would spend it making biological or nuclear weapons instead. No sweets shops could exist in such a world.
She went all around the country, but she could not find a single store that sold sweet things.
She sniffled and wailed in true despair at the thought that she might never eat macarons again.
Even when the old man died, she had only cried a little.
"Waaah! Nooo! Feed me! Feed me macarons!!", the girl screamed, rolling and throwing a tantrum in the empty street. The ground was wet with her tears, and her crying echoed far away into the night.

She cried for three days. Feeling empty, she eventually stopped.
Her pastel pink hair was dirtied with gravel and sand, and her face was smudged with tears and snot.
She was filled with centuries' worth of sadness.
"Macarons... macarons..."
She wandered like a ghost around the ruined world, muttering it again and again. In better times, it wouldn't be surprising if police arrested her given how bizarrely she acted.
But life is not always woe. Happiness soon came upon her.

"This way, miss."
The girl was suddenly spoken to in the ruined town of Tokyo.
There stood an old man wearing an apron.
"What is it? I'm really sad because I can't eat macarons. Leave me alone."
"Just come here for a second."
"Ugh, what is it? W-Whoaaa!"
In his hands, he held perfectly round and colorful macarons, which she had longed to see more than the rising sun.
She drooled at the macarons which she had been dreaming of and stood up straight with excitement.

"Whoa! Wow! Macarons! It's not a dream! Well maybe it's a dream! I hope it's not a dream!", the girl shouted, thumping herself on the head.
"Ow! Not a dream! Wooow!"
The girl was so happy, she burst into tears.
"A-Are you all right, miss...?", the aproned old man asked with a thin smile, recoiling a bit at the girl's reaction.
"I'm fine! But anyway, what's with those?", the girl asked with a smile after wiping her tears. She was really, really happy.
The aproned old man calmly answered the smiling girl's question.
"They're from the black market. Those are the times for you. Those things destroyed my shop a decade ago."
He gazed at a pile of rubble with a pained face.
The girl couldn't have known this either, but the rubble was the remains of a shop destroyed by Paraporopurun.
"Well, even still, I love to make macarons. I hope I can open shop again once peace comes back to this world. So I've gotta keep up my skills, making and selling macarons every day. You're cute, miss, so you can have them for free."
"Hooray! Thank you!"
"No problem! Come by my shop once the world's peaceful again!"
"Alright. I hope it's peaceful soon!"
The aproned old man gave the girl ten macarons, and she bounced around happily.
The old man smiled with satisfaction at her delight.

*

"Okay, see you again!"
"Right, bye!"
The girl said goodbye to the aproned old man and ran through what had been Shibuya. She held a paper bag with macarons in it.
In high spirits, she ran through Tokyo looking for a place to eat with the best view.
Just then, a shadowy lifeform appeared before her eyes.
It had seventy-six eyes, three thousand arms. Slimy slippery reddish-purple skin, exposed hearts and three hundred million lungs.
It could be none other than Paraporopurun.

"Oh, you're..."
The instant the girl said this, Paraporopurun shot an arm toward her at imperceptible speed. As soon as just one of its three thousand arms touched her, her body went flying off like a light rubber ball.
The force of this would blow an ordinary person to pieces, but the girl was immortal, so she survived.
However, the macarons she was holding fell to the ground, and got all muddy.
"Oww... Ahhh!!" The ripped paper bag entered her vision, then the macarons that had fallen out onto the ground.
Seeing these ruined macarons, she was filled with an emotion she had not felt before.
The girl who had generally lived taking things in stride now had a face red with rage.

"You...! Do you know what you've done?! These macarons are the old man's life work! They're extremely precious, and now I can't eat them! Now apologize! APOLOGIZE!!"
"... ..... .....!"
Though she screamed loudly at it, Paraporopurun surely did not understand her Earth language.
Paraporopurun made some strange noises and vibrations and swung one of its arms again. Like before, the girl was blown away.
She hit the ground again, this time crushing a few macarons with her rear.
"...! ..... ? ... ...!..."
"Oww! You big dummy!"
She shouted again, and started throwing the macarons from the ground at Paraporopurun.
Miraculously, the macarons went straight into Paraporopurun's mouth, of which it only had just one.
". ....... .. .. . .. ... ..... . .....!"
Immediately, Paraporopurun's reddish-violet face turned yellowish-green.
It suddenly stopped moving, and with a slight tremble, flew away into the west sky making bizarre noises.
"Wait! Give back my macarons!"
Her words echoed hollowly in the sky.

*

A few days later, all the Paraporopurun were cleanly wiped out.

To Paraporopurun, macarons were a terrifying food which induced what humans would call paralysis and strong hallucinations.
When Paraporopurun ate the macarons, it became confused, and the hallucinogenic state spread via the spirit link to all the Paraporopurun.
Out of their right mind, they started to kill each other, and their numbers visibly dwindled.
In less than a week, nearly all the Paraporopurun had died, until finally, there was only one left.
The final Paraporopurun was quickly taken care of by the biological weapon girl.
And just like that, peace was easily returned to the world. Hooray.

"..... ... ..... ....."

The last remaining Paraporopurun, just before it was killed, said something in a language unknown to humans.
Members of a team made to strategize against Paraporopurun understood a few things about the language, and made it their final job to translate their ultimate foe's parting words.

"I saw the goddess."

One must keep in mind that these final words from the Paraporopurun were uttered in a state of paralysis and hallucination, and thus are nonsense.
But of course, people around the world paid that no mind, and believed that a great goddess had saved the Earth.
The invader who had tormented them for half a century had one day just been abruptly destroyed. So you couldn't fault them for thinking that.
And so the Church of Venus began, a religion to celebrate the goddess who had saved mankind.
Their numbers increased rapidly, and in less than fifty years, ninety-five percent of humanity was Venusian.
The macaron-loving fairytale goddess in question didn't even know she had become a god, and went on a tour of all the world's sweets shops.

And so she was out there somewhere, happily stuffing her cheeks with macarons.

*

All kinds of problems on Earth were resolved, and the world enjoyed a long peace.
Though Paraporopurun had put humanity on the brink of annihilation, the population already swelled back to 10 billion.
With little else to do in a peaceful world, they starting investigating all sorts of not-fully-understood things to kill time.
First of all, everything about the human body.
Then the deep sea.
Then all creatures on Earth, and the history of the Earth itself.
Everything from lost technology to how to make the best possible curry.
Every conceivable thing.

As the girl wandered the world for two hundred years, there came to be almost nothing on the planet that remained unexplained.
The origin of Earth, the secrets of life, and the mysteries of the deep sea had all been made clear.
Intelligent people decided they would go on to figure out things beyond their own planet. Enticed by the romance of unknown worlds, scientists turned their attention to space research.

There was a space development boom.
Just like people long ago had longed to be professional baseball players, people longed to be space researchers.
First, humanity started a project to terraform Mars.
After forcefully altering Mars's atmosphere with antimatter lasers, they sent over mounds of sugar, Gocchan, and vegetation.
The project began in 2700, and in only a few decades, Mars's environment was livable for humans. The Gocchan still happily blubbed there.
With the success of the Mars terraforming, space research advanced at an explosive rate.

While humanity was busy with space research, the girl became friends with a boy playing dodgeball in a park.
The glasses-wearing youth was rather weak.
In the 28th century, weak people were still looked down upon, and so he was made fun of by other children.
The game of dodgeball they played that day was in name only - it was mostly just about bullying the boy.
Suddenly, the girl passed by. She had a sudden urge to play dodgeball and asked to join the children.
The bullies were nervous being suddenly talked to by a whimsical and cute pastel pink-haired girl and readily accepted.

Starting then, the game was drastically changed.
The girl was immortal and very strong, so she hurled the ball at both the bullies and the bullied.
She truly looked like a vengeful god.
The sight of the girl making unbelievably fast throws with a perfect smile made some of the boys cry and wet themselves.
After a single match, the bullies all dispersed and ran far away.
"Aw, what? I wanted to play some more..."

The weak boy was unbelievably reverent of the girl.
She thought of her as a real-life hero.
"Excuse me! Is it okay if we talk?!"
"Hmm?"
"Sorry to ask this all of a sudden, but please let me be your apprentice! Please!"
"Apprentice?"
"Yes, yes! Is it okay if I call you Master?!"
The girl had lived a long time, but no one had asked to be her apprentice before. Her heart filled with cheer, she replied "Sure thing!" with a voice full of enthusiasm.
From that day forth, the boy called the girl his Master.

"If you want something to do as my apprentice, then buy me sweets every month!"
The boy agreed and said he would bring her many macarons monthly.
Happily accepting the girl's orders, he used his small allowance to buy a mountain of sweets on the first of every month.
"Master! I've brought you macarons today!"
"Well done! Have some sand as your reward."
"Thank you very much, Master! I'm as happy as could be to receive such a wonderful gift!"
"Having an apprentice is really easy," the girl thought.
Even if she slept the whole month, the macarons would come. As she ate them, she wondered what sweets might be offered to her next.
She was a wicked girl. An adored, seven-hundred-fifty-year-old wicked girl.

"Master! How can one become so good at dodgeball?!"
The boy would occasionally ask her such questions.
When he did, she would reveal her secrets with a grin.
"Hmm... Swimming is good!"
"I see! So swimming develops the back muscles, which explains your godly throwing strength! That's very helpful to know! You're amazing, Master! All right, then, I'll swim every day!"
"Yeah, that should help. Swim twenty-one hours a day for about two hundred years and you'll be as strong as me!"
"Amazing, Master! Wow! I'll do my best!"
"Good luck!"
"Yes! Thank you very much for your wonderful advice!"
"It's fine. Just don't forget the macarons next week!"
"Yes! Understood!"

The boy was fundamentally an idiot, so he continued to revere the girl in this way. Whenever she taught him anything, she would demand sweets.
However, he was a diligent student and was luckily able to achieve his dream of becoming a space researcher.
As the girl was receiving sweets from him, humanity was progressing with space research.
Tens of millions had moved to Mars by now, and study of the solar system was nearly complete.
Slowly, humanity began to venture beyond the solar system.

*

"Master, why do you not age?", the boy asked the girl one day between research.
She snootily laughed and answered him.
"I became immortal a long time ago. Cool, huh?"
"Amazing! But of course, Master!"
"Naturally. Heap more praise!"

Decades after they first met, the boy was the same as always.
In all that time, there wasn't a month he failed to deliver her sweets. And over the years, the sweets he brought became more refined and delicious.
By this time, the boy was actually one of the leading experts in space research.
He had plenty of money, which he spent on delicious sweets for the girl.
Even so, whatever she ate, she would merely sigh "Tastes good!" She wasn't able to distinguish different tastes very well at all.

When the boy talked to the girl, he was always smiling and full of joy.
He now appeared to be much older than the girl, but in his eyes she still stood high above him, as his Master.
To an observer, their relationship would appear strange. But it was perfectly natural to them, and they treasured it greatly.
Similarly, the girl always thought of the boy as a boy, and always as her apprentice.
So when she noticed one day the boy had a gray hair, she felt a little sad.
Still, she said nothing. That was her greatest bluff.

Time continued to pass, and when the boy's hair turned fully white, the researching of space was finishing up.
There was almost nothing left in the universe which wasn't understood.
Researchers then became curious to see if there was anything outside of space.
With space research mostly complete, mankind developed a warp-drive equipped spaceship called the White Holli.
Created to explain all remaining mysteries, it was an embodiment of humanity's hope.
The ship required human piloting, but the warp drive was already complete. All that remained was the journey to the outside of space.

On the girl's eight-hundredth birthday, a few thousand researchers boarded the White Holli and set out to go beyond space.
The boy was among them.
As a lead developer on the White Holli, he was obligated to aid in the expedition as well.

"Huh? But I need my monthly macarons!"
When the boy told her he was heading beyond space, she complained.
She still looked forward to the high-quality sweets the boy brought her monthly.
Even with warp technology, the boy indeed could not send her sweets in the midst of the journey, which could take up to a decade. That was something the sweets-loving fairytale girl couldn't bear.
He tried to console the pouting girl. "Please forgive me, Master! But when I return, I will bring you back sweets from beyond the cosmos! I'll do what I can!"
"Hmm... Well, I guess..."
"And when I return, I'll bring you a decade's worth of quality sweets!"
"Really?! Hooray!"
She was a little let down, but she was okay with the promise of yet-unknown sweets.

"If you have any problems, just ask here."
As the boy left, he gave the girl an address.
"What's this?"
"A company I started recently. I thought I would try to train people to be like you, Master! I want your ideas to spread throughout the world!"
The card said "Hero Training Inc."
No matter how old the boy got, she would always be the hero who saved him from bullies, her cool and unparalleled Master.
"Well then, I'll do my best!"
"Don't push yourself too hard! And don't die!"
She energetically saw the boy off. He was smiling to the end.

*

A year passed since the boy left Earth with the other researchers.
After a year's journey, the White Holli finally reached the end of the regions mankind knew and arrived at the outside of space.
As all humanity's hearts danced with the prospect of an unknown world, a single message arrived from the White Holli.

"We've discovered happiness."

No further transmissions were ever made.

People worldwide were shocked, and successive exploration parties were sent, but none returned.
Letting curiosity get the better of them, the space researchers all departed for outside the cosmos.
They never set foot on Earth again.

No one knew what was outside the cosmos.
No one could say if there was really happiness there.
But the boy would certainly never come back.
The girl waited for him, but even after a decade, he never did.
The park was the same as ever, yet now it felt emptier.
It felt like the color of the park they played in was gone.
She looked up at gray skies and closed her eyes.

I suppose my apprentice is living happily outside the cosmos.

As a mere macaron-loving immortal girl, she couldn't know.
But she hoped that her beloved apprentice was indeed happy out there.
As unbefitting a thought as it was for her, it was what she thought. It was what she hoped.

*

2828 CE. Earth was hit by numerous giant meteorites.
Observation of them had been obstructed by thick clouds covering the sky.
An unbelievable amount of meteorites had unbelievable orbits headed for Earth.
It seemed that once-in-a-millennium solar activity had added up to this result.
As such, defensive weapons could not be used against them.
Thanks to the lack of scientists due to the events decades ago, there was an unbelievable lack of people to respond to the meteorite collisions.
It was all so unbelievable, one could only laugh.
That this was the reason the world would be destroyed.

As the end approached, a crazed president of one of the countries mashed the nuclear launch button sixteen times.
The nuclear missiles rained down on the world alongside the meteorites.
On that final night, the world was engulfed in blinding light, lighting up the sky.
Such a spectacle, it was almost hard to perceive it as the end of the world.

Civilization was wiped off the map.
In an instant, half of humanity was killed, and the remainder soon perished in the broken world.
Barren and irradiated. All technology was returned to ash.
An unknown virus spread from the meteorites, and billions died at their wit's end.
Finally, dust clouds from the impacts covered the atmosphere, bringing on an ice age.
The once-beautiful Earth became a planet of death in the blink of an eye.
The sunlight came down no longer.
It was not a blue Earth anymore.
The world had turned completely gray.

In the century that followed, mankind rapidly died off.
The Earth had thirty-seven billion residents at its peak, and now hardly any remained.
Most animals and plants had gone extinct as well.
Because of the unknown virus, those humans who had moved off of Earth decided to give up on it completely.

And the girl continued to live in this world.
In a world without light.
A freezing world.
An empty world.
A world littered with death.
To meet Miko, who was waiting a thousand years in the future, she kept living.

She had to hear what Miko had to say.
"I'll keep going. Just a little more..."
As she spoke, blood came out her mouth.
It had been nearly a thousand years since any such damage had come to her.

Of course, she had no way of knowing, but the virus had worn away at her genes.
At some point, she had become just an ordinary macaron-loving fairytale girl.

*

A world of ash.
No color, no light.
Everything ruined.
I want to go home soon.
To somewhere I don't know.

I’m so tired of it all.
The changing of the world. Having to say goodbye to people.
I’m so tired.

I’ve lived more than enough.
I've made lots of friends at a testing facility, I’ve had an old man give me macarons every day.
I've donated tons of blood, I’ve traveled the world.
I’ve had long vacations, I've swam plenty.
I’ve found cute blubbing Gocchan, and handed them off.
I've explored the deep sea, I've had a strange alien ruin some macarons, I’ve had an apprentice.

And now, I’ve seen the world destroyed.

Ah, those were the days.
Yes, it’s enough. I'm stuffed now.
But, still, if I could have one more wish granted, I'd want to see her again, one last time.

That’s all I want, Miko.

*

She had come to be the only one left on Earth.
Everyone, yes, everyone, had perished.
She could barely move her arms anymore.
She could hardly see, and there was no energy in her legs.
Still, she kept living in the ashen gray world.

Soon, it would be over for her as well.
She knew the final moments of this macaron-loving fairytale girl drew near.

A light appeared in that ending world.
It was the first light in that ashen world, covered by black clouds, in decades.
"If I'm seeing this, then the end must be here...", she muttered to no one.
Suddenly, she heard a voice somewhere.
She thought she was hearing things.
But somehow, she knew.
She knew she had heard that voice before.
She couldn’t see it anymore.
But she knew everything.

"Long time no see."

A nostalgic voice. One she had been waiting to hear. For a thousand years.

"Yes, it has been."

The girl smiled.

What did those last remaining humans last think?
What did they talk about?
Did they cry?
Did they laugh?
Were they saddened?
Were they delighted?
Were they angry?
No one could ever know.
That was a secret between them.
But this much we can say for sure.
In a world without macarons or sweets of any kind, humanity perished happily in its final day.

And so was the macaron-loving girl’s strange,

yet happy story.

*

3000 CE.
The humans who had moved to Mars finally decided to send robots to investigate Earth.
It was a long-perished planet, but people figured they might be able to do some good with it.
The robots took pictures of the planet, which was impossible to do from Mars due to the dust clouds.
It was an empty world.
A pure white ruined landscape.
A dilapidated, messy, starved world.
The robots continued to photograph it.
Those on Mars began to think that revitalizing the Earth was impossible.
Earth had truly been devastated.
As the robots went on taking photos, they found something.
The last remnants of humanity, holding hands and huddled together.
The two moved no longer, but seemed so pleasant together.

They looked very happy.

A few decades later, the humans on Mars made an antibody for the unknown virus.
It was made possible by the discovery of that girl who had been infected with it.
With this, a project to re-terraform the Earth began.
Thanks to her, the Earth was able to take back a promising blue future.
But that didn't matter to the macaron-loving fairytale girl, who still holds her friend's hand today.


The warmth of that hand was all she had ever sought for those thousand years.



Part 2
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