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Ethereal Paradigm: A Canvas of Black
Author :ICARUS
© Webnovel

35 Ephemerality

"With time involved, everything is temporary."

― David Benedict Zumbo

━━━━━━━━┓ ✠ ┏━━━━━━━━

The bleak night as the sun began to dawn slowly descends upon us and it was just a blink of an eye when everyone's decision metamorphosed from being a vicious rebel to now still a bit defiant but with exceptional compliance. For them, the reward that awaits is vividly much more than the risk that they are to face. Well as unfortunate as it is .and as I had explicitly stated it before, men are the only known existence that gains from their own juvenile reasoning and actions. Which is of course, just absurd. They're now drawn into thinking about a future with a minuscule possibility of happening rather than being skeptical of the process within.

Hearing the term "Wish will be granted without falters" was like an aphrodisiac for them, but this time, it was not a drug to increase libido, but the augmentation to will ...brazenly and irrationally.

Now, speculation says that 1 out of 10 is still half-way of agreeing ...but not for long. Many live and continue to strive by social approval and here is no different. "What's going to happen to me if I say no? Will everyone think that I'm a coward?" , "They'll judge me if I race my hand to object now". Thoughts like that are still experienced by the remaining 10 %, and at the end of the day, they will find themselves fallen victim to the social bias of being taken away captive of fear for judgment and being left alone. They will also likely agree with the terms and will find themselves gritting their teeth as they realize slowly afterward how poor their logic had been in making this hasty and unreasonable decision.

Moreover, the statistics do not end there, but I highly doubt that this would be the finale. In a population consisting of reward-driven, normies, and skeptics, there is a fourth share that highly stands out from the crowd, the truly defiant. They can decline the offer anytime they want as they go brave against the judgment and as they can live without prior approval from the society, but if some do exist here in this crowd, I know that they are too ingenious to say "No. Just get me back home" right now. They probably know and are intelligible enough to realize that the concept of returning home is a mere pipe dream.

Why would these deities themselves even resort to this when it means more work? It's highly probable that we are purposefully trapped here and the cause could either be one of this two: (1) This is the viscount's doing (The one who transported us hereby summoning Atlas killing lives in the process ) or, (2) this is perhaps already included in the rule of the game where change is not allowed.

"The game must reach its extremity before someone can leave alive", something like that, might already be considered as an active rule. Yet, I hate it if it were to be 'just' that. Why? because that concept is cliched as hell. What is this? Danganronpa's last season? At any rate, I know there's still plenty that needs to be explained to us. Maybe this Hermes holds the key to the answers. I hope for any external factors to sever if it were to again interfere with him in his one job to explain everything.


"So everyone is now willing to join?" Hermes said, standing tall as everyone now is subject to give him respect out of their fear of his severing power that obliterated a mountain or two in a split blink of an eye.

Everyone is silent and is rather daunted to answer the question...Yet, slowly, one by one they raised their hands in approval until none was left out deciding to opt-out of the game. I was right in all of that balderdash I spouted earlier.

"Truly fascinating! Well then, I'll be passing out a paper that each of you needs to sign." Hermes then again pointed his finger, which was the same medium he used for his primal display moments ago, but this time it was not pointed to a distant island but towards all of us listening in front of him. Everyone cowered in fear and was in deep hysteria as his hands made its position, but they were silent doing there very best to hide the fear when in fact it was laid transparent...Shiro, in my embrace even began to feel panicky seeing the reaction of the crowd. I once again assured her that everything's fine as I am with her, patting her head gently.

"Oh no. You'll think that I will kill you? Murufufufufufu. I am not allowed to lay my hands on you. Relax. Breath. I'll just be handing out papers as I have said earlier. This finger-pointing is just a hobby of mine hehehehe. There's no need for you to fear me blowing this whole unearthed island cause that?!... Is not happening."

As he said that, everyone's face was like "Screw him!", but no one dared to speak their guts out, still because of fear of getting a possible, personalized demonstration from him.

"Now then." Hermes then clapped his hands once and the next thing we saw was a golden pen and a paper appearing in front of us drifting mid-air, luminous and was very majestic to behold. There's one for everyone magically materializing in front of our faces. I assume that this would be the contract for the masses? It's very different from mine. Unlike this which seemed to be coming from heaven, the contract which I signed from Lacrimosa was like a gloomy paper from the abyss.

Yet, why did I receive one though? I already signed mine.

Oh, I get it... it was for Shiro. How merciless for them to even assume that a kid this age can make decisions on their own. While some still have their guardians, it's beyond question that there's more out there like this girl.

"That paper in front of you serves as the contract, a proof of you trusting your fate in this game under our provision. Please do sign now with the pen. "

I looked at the clueless Shiro, she somewhat knows that this is way above the mundane, but her innocence conquered her doubts, even more, a good thing perhaps.

"You know how to write your name?" I asked Shiro with an assured smile to at least make her feel that everything is fine, when in fact it's somehow dire.

"Yes oni-chama" she replied with the same clueless face as ever.

"Want to write it together? We will then be in an adventure! "

"Adventure?"

"Yes! You'll see different things along the way and I'm sure you're gonna like it"

"Woah...Will I see a pegasus, oni-chama?"

"Oh, yes. And you will not just see it but instead, you'll probably be able to ride one."

"Yaaaayyy!! Let's write it now oni-chama!!"

"Sure!"

I already learned my lesson. Likely, it was the greatest regret of my life, not reading the terms and conditions of the contract that I signed hastily and I'm not gonna make the same mistake twice. I'll read this even if it would take me an hour...

The contract reads...

✞———————❖———————✞

I, __________hereby pledge by the authority of the Magistrates, am now a part of the Decree- warfare to decide the final controversy of my own race, deciding our overall fate and the fate which I am to follow in my own will. "

✞———————❖———————✞

That's it? Where are the terms? Oh right, they're not Herrschers. Maybe they don't carry the same burden as us... the main participants of the game.

Having read all of that, Shiro and I signed her contract together and at the same time, so did everyone. Then, out of the blue, the contracts began to burn in itself by a graceful cyan-colored flame indicating that the agreement had been sealed by an unalterable divine jurisdiction.

"Hey, Celes... Eh? Where is she?" The moment I took my attention off of her, she suddenly vanished. Maybe she's got some other business to take care of? Wait, business in this situation? That's implausible. Maybe she just has gone out for some fresh air.

"With that, I OFFICIALY WELCOME YOU ALL TO THE WARFARE OF FATES!" Hermes ecstatically shouted through the active multimedia making our ears ring for a while.

Trumpets, Drums, and Joyful singing then roared through the thundering skies with unseen musicals and then suddenly, in the bleak of the nightfall, fireworks came booming out of nowhere, with still unseen sources painting the vast firmament with variant colors. Shiro started to enjoy the show herself, but merely almost everyone was still stuck on foreshadowing their future here whilst being concerned with the decisions that they had made rather than enjoying the display.

Well, I think that there's an underlying message in this. Although it's me just being oversensitive, I know for sure that these cascades of fireworks were not prepared to erase doubts nor was it shown to be a facade worthy of admiration, but...to remind us of our ephemeral lives. One day it's here brimming with colors and ethereal beauty and yet, in a not too distant future it will wither away like fragile petals and like a little puff of smoke, everything will be taken away without warning.

And in this game, it's more likely that our life expectancy has now been reduced via sliding scales as the ephemerality of our lives has never been seen as concerning as this beforehand.

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