The trio exited the elevator and entered the convenience store. The cashier, as usual, took their place behind the counter.
"Is it true ? That the boss is taking away humanity." asked Melissa.
"Yes. But you two won't be affected by that. Let me ask you this : Do you feel human ?" The cashier had answered with another question.
Jhin and Melissa looked within themselves. "What does it mean to feel human ?" Jhin wondered out loud.
"Humans are... bound by their relations, by their rules. Do you think that you are, on a deeper level ? Do you think that even if breaking those rules would not be seen as bad, it would feel fundamentally wrong to do so ?"
Deep inside, they knew that no. These rules meant nothing to them. Most of them did not have a point, and the ones they upheld were simply due to the backlash that would follow if they did not.
"That is what it means to not feel human." said the cashier, seemingly reading their minds. "The truth is, you have never been human. Before you were born, your soul was exchanged with another.
"You," the cashier pointed to Jhin, "have the soul of a scorpion. And you," they pointed to Melissa, "of a digital singer."
Immediatly, to Jhin and Melissa, this made sense. They could feel a strong kinship with those identities. Something was weird, though.
"You said our souls were swapped out. Who did that, and why ?" remarked Jhin.
"Since long before you were born, the angels' plan to eradicate humanity using that humanity was known. It was the very reason why the battle of the Sewers happened, a long time ago.
"Back then, we tried to stop the angels directly. We tried to stop their plan right now, using brute force.
"A commandable effort, and the strategy used was serviceable, but unfortunately, a single mistake could have, and did, throw the whole thing into chaos.
"On the topic of order and law, no thing or no one can compare to the angels."
"What happened to the city where this happened ?"
"It no longer exists. It's a city you can't find on any map.
"But we learned from our mistakes. Now, the plan was to make some humans impervious to the humanity-stealing techniques of angels.
"And to do that, we simply... stole the souls of some fetuses. As they grew up, they were no longer bound by the rules of humans. And to fill the void left behind by your soul, you took something around you, for you an animal and for you a fictional character, and assumed a kinship to it.
"The plan succeeded. You are no longer humans, but you aren't a part of a created tribe. Your potential is unbound."
Once again, Melissa and Jhin were dumbfounded. They understood better who they were, and felt good about that, but at the same time, they felt they had been robbed of their souls, of their beings.
Were they really Jhin and Melissa ? Or were they wimply impostors occuping their bodies ?
Of the two, Melissa was the angriest toward the descendant. She had lived all her life with a soul that was not hers. Yes, she had not had a terrible life, but now that she knew, she couldn't help but think about what her life could have been if she had been born with her original human soul.
She felt lost and confused. Haggardly, she stumbled toward the elevator. The cashier tried to stop them, but Melissa wouldn't listen.
>LAVENDER_TOWER_16 : B14F Cold Chamber