"If one day I lose control...Can I rely on you to stop me?" The young man softly spoke as he gazed into Lumine's golden pupils, the beautiful traveler from another world who helped him so much with his research.
"If I do lose control, I might take away everything you hold dear…"
He believed he could count on her, more than he could on anyone else.
Lumine silently stared at his outstretched hand and his pitiful expression, unable to give him an answer. Her heart ached for her friend.
She didn't know if she had it in her...If she could kill one of her friends, for the greater good, if it ever came to it.
And that indecisiveness would prove to be fatal and the source of her nightmares...
Deep within the cold region of Dragonspine, a young man moved his brush swiftly along the canvas, drawing a painting.
His skill was extraordinary, and he could draw anything he wanted to the minutest of details in about a few breaths of time.
He was lost in his art for a moment, the brush lashing across his canvas, like a beating heart.
The man's fingers stopped and he put the brush to the side. The barely legible signature was done, and the young man was content.
"I will name it, [The Ever Forgiving Humankind]."
He looked at it one more time, scrutinizing his masterpiece before showing the faintest of smiles, one of contentment, before writing [For Klee] in the top right corner of the painting.
The man was very young; still in his teens, or at least that's how most people would perceive him to be. In reality, he was much older than most elderly citizens of Mondstadt, maybe older than all of them, yet he radiated a youthful glow of immortality.
His hair was ashy light blond in color, and he dressed himself in a long white coat with short sleeves with a black hood and a pair of black shorts.
He was a dashing fellow, handsome enough to steal the heart of all the young maidens of Mondstadt if he ever bothered to flash the simplest of smiles at them. Yet, he didn't, he had no interest in them as the prospect of alchemical research had occupied its place. Dabbling in the art of alchemy was the calling of his life.
He checked his hair and brushed it back to the side, readying to go back to his lab, continuing his research. His steps, however, came to a halt as perpetual darkness engulfed his surroundings, dyeing Dragonspine in a shade of black contrasting with its snow white exterior.
All of a sudden, the faint light of the sky peeking in through the coalesced clouds intensified, it's color dyed in crimson, a far more intense shade of red than even the color of silk flowers that was indigenous to Liyue.
Lording over that canopy, so scarlet that it gave off the impression of being smeared with the bloodshed of countless battlefields, was a pitch black orb, like the pupil of a departed soldier.
It was hard to immediately grasp the orb's origins, but it was the moon, blocking off the sun's rays from within.
Sitting enshrined in a sky reminiscent of a sea of blood, the unrealistic, black moon that gave off the feeling of being clipped out of a negative photograph glared down at him.
"So, in the end... it has finally come to this…"
Under a sky and moon dyed in phantasmagoric colors, the young man named Albedo, stared up at the bizarre phenomena transpiring in front of his eyes in melancholy.
He knew this day would come, he hoped it didn't but he knew deep down in his heart that it was inevitable.
An overflowing amount of thick fog rolled in between the gaps in trees, depriving everyone in Dragonspine of their vision, and a sense of direction..
He called out the name of his assistant, disciple and dear friend.
"Y-Yes! Is something the matter, Albedo?"
A woman with light green hair with a streak of blue, fair skin, and amber eyes wearing a pair of black round spectacles clumsily arrived and stood behind him.
She was clumsy indeed, not to mention shy in front of everyone, yet reliable and a genius of near unparalleled heights when it came to the subject of alchemy.
Without turning around, he answered her in a commanding tone, "Leave this place as far away as you can and never return."
"...Huh?" Sucrose was startled. That weird request came out of nowhere.
"Make sure it's as far away from Mondstadt as possible. Now, go!"
Hearing his pitifully trembling voice, Sucrose knew something was very wrong. She clenched her fists and ran.
Going against his wish, however, she ran directly to Mondstadt to seek help.
Jean sat in her office, working with her never ending paperwork as usual, but all of a sudden the sky darkened, alarming her of an omen. She looked out of the window to see something akin to a black moon, covering the sun.
"What in the Sevens is that?" She had never seen anything even remotely similar to this ominous phenomenon.
It almost felt like the city of Mondstadt was engulfed in darkness, such was the effect of the pitch black orb blocking the sun completely.
Lumine, who was also in Jean's office, spending some time with her so that she wouldn't feel so lonely, also wondered what was happening; Even in all of her travels to world's known and unknown, this was a first for her.
Kids, citizens and knights gathered outside to spectate the phenomenon, looking at it in wonder, gossiping about it, waiting for something to happen. But after half an hour of idle standing and zero changes taking place, they lost interest and returned to their daily lives, chalking it up to just being some rare natural phenomenon.
From spectating the Moon, Jean concluded that so far it didn't look to be dangerous, but she had her doubts and taking things lightly was not her style. So she made sure to keep an eye on it and promised to herself that she would find out the reason for the phenomenon.
Just then, the door to the office was kicked open by none other than the shy Sucrose, startling the ones inside.
"I need help!"
Both Jean and Lumine were surprised at her outburst, she was usually a meek girl, it was extremely difficult to even get one or two words out of her mouth whenever the contents of their conversation didn't revolve around alchemy.
Yet, she came in hollering inside in such a fashion asking for help, something terribly wrong was going on and both Jean and Lumine came to the same conclusion.
"Of course, what is it? What happened?" Jean was more than willing to offer help to one of the talented alchemists of Mondstadt.
Lumine on the other hand, loved helping people in general, so she was all ears when one of her friends asked for help and that too with such desperation.
"It's...it's about Albedo…" She panted out, running all the way from Dragonspine to Mondstadt had taken its toll on her so it took her a while to gather her breath.
During the spectacle in the sky.
Two guarding Knights saw a man, they knew all too well, approach the city gates.
"If it isn't the young genius Alchemist Albedo! Welcome back, Master! What explanation do you have for that Black Moon thingy up in the sky? I'm super curious!"
"I would also like to know how the mind of a genius works. Just let us open that brain of yours, will ya? Oh by the way, I heard the cold is terrible up there in the Dragonspine. I see that you've had enough of it as well, ey?"
Both of the Knights saluted and happily greeted the young man, but as they did, they felt their vision blur and soon enough it was cut off completely.
With a single swing of his hand, both of the Knights were decapitated and without them even understanding what had transpired, they had lost their lives.
And so, Albedo entered the city...
Any mercy, compassion and individuality he may have once had was cast away somewhere, what was left behind was a being who's calling was of destruction of anything and everything that lay in his path.
And so the young man… No… The Homunculus named Albedo, slashed and swung his hands with mechanical precision at the fleeing silhouettes of the townspeople.
The ruthlessly dismembered remains of the townsfolk formed a small mountain and the ground was awash with a pool of blood flowing from the remains. The screeches, screams and wails of the people drowned the cheerful chirping of birds of the city of freedom called Mondstadt.
"Enemy attack!" These two words reverberated in the whole city of Mondstadt like a siren of desperation.
Lumine and Jean immediately went outside to intercept the intruders, thinking it to be the usual bunch of harmless monsters like Hilichurs or Slimes… So they left Sucrose behind, not being able to hear the full account of her explanations… They didn't know then that it would be the last time they would ever hear from her...
Arriving at the scene, both of them gasped at the insanity before them, gritting their teeth at the sight of such atrocity. All of their assumptions were wrong, the sight was akin to hell on earth. Dismembered bodies were laying left and right, the stench of rotting flesh and the sight of flowing blood everywhere.
"Albedo! What is the meaning of this!?!"
Jean shouted, but to no avail, the Albedo they knew was no longer present, overridden by whatever function that was inbuilt in his homunculus body.
Filled with righteous indignation, Jean closed in on the homunculus from behind, the power of Anemo guiding her movements, stifling her emotions all the while.
She lifted her blade and with the hilt of her sword, hit Albedo in the back of his head, in an attempt to knock him out.
In response, Albedo was blown back, the attack hitting right at the bullseye, hopefully knocking him out for good.
"Good, it worked!"
Jean sighed with relief upon seeing Albedo fall down a few meters away after being hit. She didn't want to kill him. He was an important person and a friend, so seeing him act like this, made her want to know what happened.
There must have been a reason why he would do this. He wasn't an illogical person, nor was he a bloodthirsty fiend that revelled in destruction, so there surely was some reason he was compelled to do what he did, there had to be one...
But she didn't have time to be complacent.
Miraculously, right in front of the frowning eyes of Jean and Lumine, the back of, sprawled faced down, Albedo's neck opened up and a small ball of light escaped into the air.
The unconscious Albedo let out words of some unknown, ancient language and after that, a green colored barrier adorned his fallen body, to protect him from damage, as if he was in danger of some kind.
Jean took a few steps back and cautiously observed the ball of light floating above her.
The colorful light danced amidst the dark sky, myriad colors interchanged between before it settled on red and expanded, in the next moment the world was consumed by a bright light.
Before anyone could even blink, Jean, Lumine and everyone in the city that was still alive, was engulfed by the flames of an exploding spell, losing all track of which way was up.
It was an all powerful spell capable of annihilating the whole city inbuilt in the homunculus' body in case of emergencies. A cruel addition to ensure his never ending path of destruction.
When Lumine's mind returned to reality, the first thing she took in was the powerful stench of something burning.
It was like meat that had been barbecued to ash, stir-fried chicken vegetables that had been fried black, completely and thoroughly burnt from too much heat inside and outside, a scent that brought one's mood to its nadir.
A cacophony of sound, of raging flames, of snapping wood and of collapsing buildings rattled her eardrums.
She opened her mouth, trying to let her voice out. She couldn't hear a thing. It was not that the sound did not reach her eardrums, but rather her eardrums were almost ruptured from the explosive sound that rumbled near her a few moments back.
A sound far too great to be termed as ´ringing´ echoed through her skull at length, leaving Lumine to expect little from her hearing for the time being.
She could even feel a trace of blood dribble down one of her ears along the sides of her face, signaling that one of her eardrums might have actually been ruptured.
Lumine continued instinctively raising her voice, checking if her hearing would recover anytime soon, as she relied on her other senses. Her eyelids were open, but her field of vision remained pitch-black, ruling out sight.
She didn't know if it was because of the explosion that took place just now, or because the weird orb in the sky merged with the sun completely. It gave off the feeling that it had engulfed the sun whole, greedily devouring the sunlight and dyeing the world in never ending darkness.
Her sense of smell was dominated by the stench of something burning, and there was a strong taste of rust in her mouth. The fact that she lay faceup, limbs spread wide, meant that she had probably fallen onto the ground.
Her hearing was recovering ever so slightly, in the meantime, she checked to see if her limbs could move, her own voice faintly slipped past the ringing in her ears. As the ringing began to fade, she began to be able to hear herself as well. At the same time, she was able to hear the sound of her own blood coursing through her body, and the darkness in her field of vision also gradually brightened.
Her five senses were functioning. Sight and vision were returning, allowing her to sense the world around her...and then…
As her hearing recovered, stringent shouts flew her way. Some voices were bloodcurdling, others were those of crying children. Screams...Wails…Screeches…Shouts... The Knights Headquarters, the City Square, the Church, the Houses, the Good Hunter restaurant, none of that were present.
Everything was gone, and all that was left were the remains of their rubble.
The wind carried waves of intense heat that battered against her body and face, the stench of smoke and burning flesh once again, invading her nostrils making her choke and suffocate. Her stomach was churning and she felt like vomiting.
Lumine sat up and looked around the area. Her entire body was covered in burns and scrapes.
Her clothes, almost all torn off, but she was too busy to realize the pain she should have been feeling, the spectacle before her eyes cut off all the feelings she could ever feel. The impossible and unforgettable sight of carnage gnawed away at her soul. The beauty of the city of freedom, the starting point of her journey on this world, was now gone and what was left behind was the ruins of the city turned to cinders, of the ashes of its people.
And just then, when the reality of the destruction was settling in making her despair…she spotted…something…
Right before Lumine's eyes, were the burning remains of what appeared to be a person, too unrecognizable due to being charred and incomplete, mixed in with several other corpses scattered around it.
And judging by the distance and by the arm gauntlets that were almost fried along with everything else...The person in question was…none other than Jean, her dear friend.
Abruptly, a cry in falsetto escaped her throat, a cry that turned into a blood curdling wail.
She moaned and groaned, both of her hands on the ground. She pathetically crawled her still dysfunctional body onto the burnt ground, heaving the contents of her stomach onto the burnt dirt, upon receiving trauma from each and every one of her senses…It just was too much for her to take in, too much for her to not lose control...
She thought that her overflowing tears and vomit would stop, but there was no apparent limit…
She wept on the ground for a long time, so long that the notion of time escaped her senses.
A good chunk, if not the whole part of Mondstadt was leveled down by the explosion spell.
The blackened, charred objects scattered around the area made her unable to identify whether it was an organic or an inorganic matter. It was surely a foregone conclusion that the dense scent of burning flesh invading her nostrils was from none other than living beings. Humans. Citizens. The people of the city of freedom and the wind. Who perished in the blast.
Who were just a minute ago, completely fine, enjoying their daily lives normally, cheerfully and with hope for the future only to be gone forever turned into cinders.
Just then, a lone figure approached. His gaze was locked onto her, his face without emotions, his gait robotic and his bloodlust exceeded the limit.
Albedo, the one responsible for destroying Mondstadt and its people.
But by now, Lumine had physically run out of tears to shed. It was her fault, to not take care of him sooner. She was hesitating, and so was Jean, hesitating to kill the one they called their friend.
And it turned out to be fatal to everyone she cared about.
To save the rest of the ones, who were still alive, they had to be alive she told herself, she had to cut him down, right here, right now.
Her body was burned and bruised, but she could still move with enough effort. Basic recovery kicked in, and as long as none of her bones were broken, she could recover from the injuries.
As Albedo approached, she decided to strike first to gain at least some kind of advantage over him.
Lumine rushed to his flank with the speed of a gale letting the power of Anemo guide her strike.
Jumping back to make distance between them, Albedo landed on a pool of blood, left behind by his slaughter.
Lumine swung her sword multiple times in an unexpected arc, trying to catch him off guard, each of her swings carried the power of Anemo making each of them deadly slashes that could cut through the strongest of metal, but Albedo avoided them all with elegant steps, maneuvering through them like they were nothing.
As if predicting exactly how she would strike. It almost felt like he could see the future. The coat of his dress danced in the wind.
Lumine knew she couldn't hold back anymore. Albedo was way too dangerous to be left alive and yet even with her full strength, she couldn't as much as touch him.
"Let's go for that then…"
She moved with speed that went beyond human limits, coating her boots with Electro element, she became a blur, slashing rapidly, her sword still coated with Anemo. She went for the kill.
But even then, as her sword swept across his body, he changed its trajectory with his hand, the Geo element coated around them, protecting him from her sharp blade sharpened further by Anemo. Meanwhile, using his other coated hand he punched her in the solar plexus and knocked the air out of her lungs, her stomach caving in from the strike.
Lumine reflexively twisted her body to escape, but couldn't fully avoid it and took his fist into her flank, only to be blown away against the wall of the nearby ruined house.
She had reduced most of the blow's strength by jumping away, but it still had the power to knock all the air from her lungs, leaving her wheezing.
She dropped her sword and desperately tried to fill her lungs with air, taking deep breaths.
She felt that part of her ribcage was shattered, and some form of internal bleeding had occurred within her body. Her basic recovery was no longer keeping up with the injuries inflicted by him, and was overshadowed by the damage.
With her back resting against the wall, she once again tried to catch her breath, but air wouldn't go in, and in its stead, saliva dripped out from her mouth and she was on the verge of vomiting again.
The feeling of death was approaching. It was looming over her. For the first time in her life, Lumine felt the fear of death.
As his footsteps drew near, she forced her body to roll away. If she was caught, it was all over.
Just then, as fast as the wind, a figure slashed at the back of Albedo's neck, but failed as Albedo blocked it with one of his hands, still covered in the power of his vision.
The figure decided that the fighting conditions were unfavorable and that it was time to retreat, so it picked up Lumine's sword, and then Lumine herself and dashed out of there.
Looking closer at the figure, it was the ever cheesy Kaeya, the Cavalry Captain of the Knights of Favonius, but it seemed like the explosion also got him good, a part of his hand was terribly burned and his fabulous clothes were scrapped for a basic t-shirt.
"Kae...ya…" She mumbled his name with difficulty and he nodded, "I know...We don't have much time, he will be here any moment..The casualties are too big, I think this is the last day we will ever see Mondstadt…"
"...Jean died…" Lumine muttered in utmost sadness, pain surging in her being as she spoke those words, still blaming herself for her death.
Kaeya fell silent.
"Diluc, Sucrose and Lisa did too…"
He mumbled not long after, his tone equally monotonous.
Hearing the names, the pain in Lumine's chest only got worse, the feeling of vomiting reappearing in the pit of her stomach.
"...We don't have time to grieve...we need to save as many as we can… I picked up Klee, she is waiting near the ruins of the Knights Headquarters."
Leaning on Kaeya's shoulder, both of them went to find Klee.
It wasn't long before they met with the cute, little red figure.
"Big sis Lumine! I haven't seen you in so long! How are you?" She asked, innocently, cheerfully. It didn't seem like she processed what was currently happening.
Lumine held back her tears and replied with a sad smile not being able to fully conceal her emotions, "I'm... fine, how about you?"
"Klee...feels a bit weird…" She looked around the destroyed plaza and continued, "Jean told me not to play with explosions inside of the city...but someone used a huuuuge explosion not long ago! Klee could feel it!"
Lumine finally broke down, hearing Jean's name made her recall the previous incident and she started crying again.
"Bis sis Lumine? Why are you crying?" The ever clueless Klee asked, and she stepped closer to wipe her tears with her small hands, proceeding to pat her head afterwards trying to cheer her up.
"Don't be sad…"
"I-I'm not...it's alright Klee... We need to get out of here now…"
"Ah! It's big brother Albedo!"
Hearing her, both Lumine and Kaeya's faces morphed into horror and they swiftly turned around.
"Shit, he found us this fast…" Kaeya pulled out his favonius sword, only to see that the blade was shattered. Most likely by the latest attempt to attack Albedo.
"Looks like I'm out of the fight…" He gave Lumine a sad smile.
"Leave it to me…" Lumine stood up, her body still shaken up but her eyes strong and firm, "I need to be the one to stop him...He wanted it to be me…" With some difficulty, she started walking towards Albedo with measured steps.
Kaeya knew Lumine was injured, so he took Klee's hand and retreated farther away from her. If the circumstances were favorable, he would assist her, but if she were to fall as well…
Then he would grab Klee and run… He had no other choice. The situation wasn't favorable in any way for them. Not only were both of them injured, Albedo was too strong, and they had a child with them.
It was one of those tough situations where they had to make a cruel decision, one that would eat away at their very soul till their deaths. But for the sake of survival they had to make it nonetheless.
There was currently only one person capable of taking care of Albedo and it was precisely Lumine and her alone.
Lumine broke through the downpour of deadly attacks made by Albedo, moving beyond the limits of her body, paying no heed to her injuries and the sensations of excruciating pain trying to numb all of her other senses, with utmost concentration she kept moving.
She swayed from left to right, suddenly accelerating and decelerating in the same way, did as many flips as her body allowed her to, dodging all of Albedo's attacks by the barest of margins.
Still her enemy drew near, ever closer through each repeated skirmish, cutting the distance between them in a snail's pace. Once it was cut short enough, it was over for Lumine; she knew it all too well.
Kaeya watched the fight with bated breath, any small mistake could cost Lumine her life, he wanted to help but couldn't, his condition didn't allow him to use his vision even for a second or else his body might break down from the strain.
He held Klee close, the small girl clinging to his shirt, racking sobs shaking her body trying to escape his grasp, "W-Why is big brother Albedo fighting with big sister Lumine?" Kaeya sighed, tears stinging his eyes as he responded to the little girl's cries in a croaked voice, "I'm sorry, big brother Albedo...is a bad person...and we must fight him or else we won't survive…"
The small elven-like girl sobbed harder, her ears angled down, drooping like that of a sad puppy, her blood stained face, streaky from the clean tears that ran down it. "T-That's not true! Big brother Albedo is a good person! Klee knows!" With all the power she could muster in an instant, she got out of his hold and ran towards the ongoing battle.
"Klee!! Come back here!! Klee!" Kaeya shouted, barely having any strength left to stand, much less to chase.
Lumine was distracted by the running Klee and due to that, Albedo's hit connected, sending her flying into a nearby pillar, breaking through it and landing in its rubble, her body unmoving.
"B-Big brother... Albedo?" Klee gazed up at him tearfully.
But even that wasn't enough to bring Albedo back to normal, he raised his hand, and slapped Klee away.
"Shit! That bastard!" Kaeya cursed and rushed with his injured body, barely catching Klee in his embrace.
"Klee!! Are you okay!? Klee!"
Luckily, she wasn't hurt that much and weirdly enough, she wasn't crying anymore. An expression of utter shock and disbelief streaked her face as her gaze never left Albedo's.
Maybe she couldn't believe that her big brother hit her, or maybe she didn't want to believe that her big brother was the bad guy.
The sound of rubble being scattered attracted everyone's attention and from it Lumine stood up with some difficulty…
Her body was battered and bloody, coupled with the scars from the fire, she was completely devastated.
"Kaeya! Grab Klee and run!"
She poured everything she had into her legs and dashed towards Albedo one more time and she knew it was the last time, either she succeeded or she failed, victory or defeat, life or death everything would be decided on the next blow.
In her last attempt, Lumine's blade drew a silvery arc through the air, the blade coated with the power of all the elements she mastered in the land of Teyvat in one finishing blow aiming to end Albedo's life. Sadly Albedo was too fast for her nigh destroyed body and dodged it, the attack lost its mark albeit it still managed to scatter a few strands of his blonde hair about cutting through them.
Having missed, and seeing how Albedo aimed his palm, powered with the Geo element and turned into a deadly spike aiming to take her life, towards her neck, she panicked and desperately turned the tip of her blade in a flowing, horizontal slash.
One glance was enough for her to know she wouldn't make it in time, and that Albedo's hand would decimate her throat before she could slash him, but then, Kaeya made an ice slide with his Cryo Vision, putting his body in overdrive, to get quickly to his target and rammed into Albedo with his whole body, inflicting a bit of Cryo to him as well slowing down his movements, saving Lumine and giving her the chance she needed to finish him off.
Finally hitting its mark, the blade cut through Albedo's windpipe in a flash, the presence of overflowing elemental energy making any chance of recovery impossible for him.
With his carotid artery severed, and the elemental energy rampaging throughout his body, blood gushed out like a geyser from his neck without a moment's delay.
Kaeya quickly went after Klee and held her close, trying to put his hands on her eyes so that she wouldn't watch the gruesome sight, but no no avail...
"Big brother Albedo!!" Klee, who was being restrained by the injured Kaeya let out cries of despair at the sight of her dear big brother dying in front of her eyes.
Even with his windpipe slashed and his body internally destroyed with the power of elements Albedo didn't feel any pain, oddly enough. Just the feeling of freedom.
No longer being controlled by an evil entity, no longer being forced to kill people he considered his friends and family, he sighed a breath of relief, underlying the melancholy and pain of having done those unforgivable deeds.
He simply helplessly crumbled to the ground, his body devoid of all strength, as if someone had cut the strings holding him up.
As he landed, his field of vision became tinged with red. His own spilled blood and the crimson shades of the sky mingled together, washing over this world, the world of Teyvat.
"Big brother Albedo!!"
Despite being injured, Klee freed from Kaeya's hold and rose to her feet, rushing to his side with small steps, but contrary to what Albedo saw, the sound of her voice and footsteps only seemed to be getting further away...
And it wasn't just sound.
All of his senses were rapidly abandoning him.
The sensation of the ground, the scent of the burning city, the coldness of the wind, and even the taste of blood spreading in his mouth…
The silent, still cage of the world was slowly converging and closing in, with Albedo at its center.
He didn't deserve anyone's sympathy, not after what he had done.
Especially not the sympathy of Klee, who he had hurt with his own two hands.
(I'm glad the traveler...my dear friend from another world...managed to stop me…but it was already way too late…)
In the center of his narrowing field of vision, the silent black moon gazed down upon him, making him remember his deeds, mocking him cruelly of his fate and of the destruction he laid bare with his own hands.
Mondstadt was filled with destruction. Remains of the buildings, remains of the people, remains of ashes of those he killed mercilessly.
It could no longer be called a city of freedom, nor could it be called a city, just ruins of ashes, of cinders, of a city filled with freedom and laughter of children and elderly alike, of bustling adults of mingling crowds all turned to dust and fire.
Delivered by his own two hands.
"I-I don't…*Hic*...want big brother Albedo to leave me!"
The cries of utter despair were slowly fading. After a moment of feeling like floating and finally being freed from everything, as though he'd been sucked into that black eye, his consciousness sank into an endless deep abyss…
"Goodbye, Klee...I'm Sorry…"
Closing his eyes forever, with endless regrets, deep sorrow, unimaginable guilt and harrowing despair, he crumbled into dust in the hands of the small Klee.
The only thing that remained after him was his core, which fueled his entire being.
Klee grasped the core and hugged it gently, as if afraid it would break, sobbing ruefully for her big brother that she knew she could never see and talk and laugh with ever again.
The ruins of the city of Mondstadt lay witness to her heart wrenching rueful wails, of a little sister's for her dear elder brother, as the black moon's darkness engulfed the land of Teyvat.
10 Years later.
Each and every country was consumed by Snezhnaya, uniting all nations for the ultimate war against the heavens. Against Celestia.
The world was currently at war, with no clear winner or at least that's what it seemed to be.
Humans with Visions and replicated Visions called Delusions, could stand toe to toe with the strongest of Gods from Celestia.
So in that regard, the war could be said to be in favor of the ever greedy humans that could just manufacture the Delusions.
Mondstadt was long gone by that time, only ruins and a land of perpetual ash taking its place. Most people lost their lives in the tragic battle and there weren't many survivors.
But it was known as history, all around the world. The traitor genius alchemist Albedo turned his back on Mondstadt and massacred everyone before he was finally defeated by the legendary traveler and others, unfortunately by that time, it was already too late.
The traveler from another world, Lumine, decided to join the war, as Tsaritsa promised her the benefits of meeting her brother again. She reluctantly agreed, and never returned to visit the destroyed Mondstadt, Liyue or other countries ever again.
Some important people from Mondstadt such as Kaeya and Amber decided to leave and disappear for good. No one knew where they went or if they were still alive.
Noelle, Diluc, Jean, Sucrose, Barbara and Rosaria had unfortunately died in the explosion of one of Albedo's attacks. Their names were engraved on the tombstones in front of the remains of the city once renowned for its freedom and it's dandelion wine.
As for others, no one knew.
The people that suffered the most, however, were the townspeople.
Some were confused and didn't know what to do after they've lost their homes and some felt like ending it all after their families were slaughtered.
Currently, a few of those survivors were being led by a young woman, with pointy ears, about 19 years of age.
Everyone trusted her judgment when she said they should move out to Dragonspine and live there.
She was a great mage, with great power fueling throughout her being, she had already become one with her vision making its power her very own.
All monsters she fought were decimated, all foes she has faced have perished or retreated. She fought with five gods of Celestia at once, while having to protect her subjects, and she won, decimating them in her signature explosions.
She was the pinnacle, and the strongest remaining force of the fallen Mondstadt and as she herself swore, she was going to protect everyone that was left behind.
Despite it being cold, Dragonspine was the most habitable, and safest place to currently stay at to avoid war or any conflict at all.
The woman stopped in her tracks and spotted an old campsite with tents and unused sleeping bags.
"We will camp here!" She announced as cheerily as possible to make sure the morale surrounding her people wouldn't falter.
She lit up multiple campfires in the vicinity with her vision and activated the nearby heating mechanism for her people, to make it as much habitable for them as possible.
When she was younger, she spent most of her time here, so she still remembered the positions and everything regarding those specific mechanisms.
The nearby snow started melting and people cheered at her life-saving gesture.
Looking ahead, she noticed a broken bridge that was partially leading up towards something.
"Okay guys! Stay here and prepare the goulash I told you about! It's perfect to make your body warm for hours on end!"
She announced and started climbing up the broken bridge, clinging to any part of it with her left hand.
She continued climbing up the small crumbling structure and once she got to the top, an old laboratory appeared in her view.
She looked around to see if any supplies were still left behind or if there was something she could salvage, although it was a fool's wish to hope to find food in a laboratory that was uninhabited for over 10 years.
As she searched around, a tall object in the corner of the old laboratory piqued her interest. It was covered by a white blanket, riddled with dust and tied up with a rope.
She could roughly guess what it was from the shape of it, but curiosity got the best of her and she decided to open it and dust it off to see its contents.
She cut the rope with her knife and took off the blanket.
As soon as the contents inside came to her vision, she fell to her knees, as tears ran down her cheeks.
It was a painting.
A painting of Albedo, Sucrose and her, relaxing after a fulfilling afternoon in their lab.
[The Ever Forgiving Humankind, to Klee.]
"I-I have forgiven you a long time ago, big brother...I have..." She sniffled and covered up the painting with the same blanket, leaving it there.
She gave it one more glance, before she put Albedo's core right next to the painting on the ground.
"See? Big brother Albedo! I still had your core! All this time! It's been quite a while, huh! Are you proud of me?"
She was now an adult. A leader. A commander. A Queen of her people.
Someone that they had to lean against for protection.
"The picture was beautiful...Thank you."
She had grown up.
Yet she never blamed him for what he did.
No matter how much everyone hated him.
No matter how much everyone ostracized and spoke ill of his name, no matter how much infamy it generated.
She could never hate her dear big brother.
As she loved her big brother to the end and she would keep loving him till she lived, to the bitter end of this world of unending dreams and fake skies...