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47 Propaganda

    I glance over at the unconscious soldier, 'He took a bit more convincing than the others, but in the end, he still agreed...well, I almost forgot, but this is a good time to speak to the Tremble lady. That news report gave me a few good ideas.'

    I check my mask and walk down the hall, making my way to a door I noticed earlier while dragging the soldier away from the prying eyes of the group. It isn't long before I find the door with a chair wedged against the floor and doorknob.

    I stare at the door and tilt my head, "Why does this door swing out into the hall...bad design or more likely just the typical lazy contractor who screwed up and never fixed their mistake. Although I'm surprised, the Congressman didn't notice. He must not be around too often."

    I move to yank the chair from the door and can't help but shake my head, remembering Roberts, many dealings with bad contractors.

    Pushing those thoughts to the back of my mind I sigh while eyeing the chair, "I gave Aponi choice A or choice B, and she chose choice C...at least she locked them up it should be fine this time," I mumble to myself.

    Not bothering to knock, I step to the side and swing the door open.

    "Wait, don't come in!" someone shouts.

    I flinch for a moment but decide to keep opening the door. I open the door to find Sylvia with a hoodie stuck around her head. Her short brunette hair pokes out of the top of the collar as she continues to struggle. Eventually, she manages to work her way toward an ottoman in the middle of the room, tripping over it and tumbling to the ground.

    Sylvia pokes her head out from the hoodie, "Oh! It's you!"

    I continue to gaze at the woman, "...May I ask what you're doing? Have you gone mad from being locked in here too long?"

    Sylvia blinks, "...I was locked in?"

    Suddenly I hear a man shouting, "Sylvia, check it out! Whoever lives here has an actual Elvis suit!"

    Sylvia quickly jumps to her feet and turns her head toward the direction of the noise with a look of panic. A man with red hair and freckles walks out from the closet, holding a heavily embroidered white suit.

    Noticing me, the man stops, "Oh...hello." he says quietly.

    "Do you always make a habit of going through other's things?" I ask.

    Sylvia answer frantically, "No! We don't I swear; I'm just cold, and Albert is just stupid!"

    "Well, whatever, I don't care either way. I do it all the time. I'm just here because I want to talk to you two."

    Sylvia shakes her head, vigorously, "Yeah! We'd like to talk to you as well. Not just us, but our viewers want to talk to you! Tremble cut our stream short during your fight with that thing, so no one got to see a lot of the amazing things you did."

    With a bit of surprise, I speak, "So you can still stream on Tremble? They didn't ban you?"

    Sylvia rubs the back of her head, "Uh, well...Yeah. They did."

    "Oh. I figured the area was probably completely shut for all media. You know if they find you, they'll probably throw you straight into a jail cell. If you're lucky."

    Sylvia and Albert look at each other and turn toward me with determination, "We know, but everyone else was too scared to find out what's going on. After so many people completely lost contact, there were tons of rumors going around online. Even the ones who came back were forbidden to talk about it...not that they wanted to talk about it. Well except for that Noodle guy, but everything he said was just complete nonsense he just kept trying to sell everyone his stupid pool noodles. Well, I still maintain he's not all there, but a lot of what he said turned out to be right."

    I feel a moment of confusion and then shock, "...Noodle guy? The guy who used pool noodles to fight Crawlers? He's alive?"

    "He actually fought those things with those pool noodles?!" Albert shouts.

    "Well, I wouldn't say fight as much as swinging them wildly through the air while shouting nonsense toward the sky. But anyway, let's move on. I want you to help me and return I'll help you."

    Sylvia asks with confusion, "Help you, and you'll help us? What is it you want, and how can you help us?"

    "That's right. I want you to help me by spreading a message, and in exchange, I'll make sure you don't go to jail."

    "How could you possibly make sure we don't go to jail?" Albert asks.

    I shrug, "I'm capable of many things and in a similar boat to you guys. They want to take me away also or just kill me at this point I suppose."

    Albert looks at me with a bit of nervousness, "Why do they want to take you away...or kill you? It's not because of the rumors, is it? The ones from online that said you could be..."

    Sylvia interrupts Albert, "Don't be ridiculous, Albert, this girl is not the one from Japan."

    Albert continues, "Sylvia, listen. You're kind of wrapped up in a bit of hero worship for this girl. Let's just let her explain herself."

    "Fine!" Sylvia turns toward me with a look of expectation, "Tell this idiot you didn't have anything to do with what happened."

    I speak, "Well, before we get into the topic further. Let me ask you two a few questions."

    "Uh, okay?" Sylvia says with the addition of a hint of uncertainty.

    "Please take these questions seriously. Hypothetically, if you went to sleep one night and while you were asleep, every single human was killed by an alien race. What would you do if you woke up to find the world occupied by that alien race and that you were the last human left on it?" I tilt my head and await an answer.

    The two glance between each other with bewildered looks, but as instructed, they begin to discuss the scenario together.

    "Well...we agreed that we would probably try to hide for a while and consider our options. Maybe look into trying to get some kind of payback or revenge? We couldn't really decide what to do after hiding."

    I nod, "Okay, continuing then. What if these weren't the exact same aliens? They are the same species, but different beings?"

    Again they discuss among themselves, and Sylvia answers, "Well, hmm, I don't know what I would do. I might still try to get revenge. It would depend, I guess...and Albert couldn't decide."

    I again nod, "Okay, so not totally sure? Now, what if there was a chance to revive the human race, but to do it, you would have to hurt a lot of the aliens?"

    Sylvia continues, "We talked about that a bit already actually. We said we would probably both do it if that was the case...although the morals behind it are a bit shaky."

    "Well. That's a good decision. I'd make the same choice." I grab at the mask and pull it from my face, "Nice to meet you, mister and miss alien."

    A couple of hours later, Albert and Sylvia itch at their necks, which now have blood collars wrapped around them.

    I smile at them, "Don't worry. This is just, so I know I can trust you."

    Sylvia gives me a small nod, "Ye-Yeah..."

    "I'm so glad we had this chat and came to an understanding. Now, do you remember what you need to do for me?" I ask.

    "...We need to let the people know that the government is hiding things from them and also to push the narrative that you're a hero." Sylvia replies.

    "That right, and remember what you get in return?"

    "If we do good, we get your protection and as a bonus, you'll help us survive the apocalypse...or something," Albert says while staring at the ground.

    "That's right!" I reply enthusiastically.

    "Anyway, I'm...Eh?" Just as I'm about to continue, I feel a small amount of my mana drift away.

    ________________________________

    --??? POV--

    I stare at the ground and work a small piece of a broken core through my fingers. The horrible smell unique to tar demons wafts into the air.

    I shake my head and think to myself, 'I'll never understand Tar Demons, always so proud of their own damn stench.'

    "Phils dead." Hearing a familiar voice, I don't bother looking up.

    "Mm. Maybe it was the blackbirds?" I reply.

    "Shit, I doubt it. They don't leave the Chasm all that much." the voice replies.

    Thinking more about it I also realize its impossible, "Yeah, that's true. Besides, only low-level creatures can sustain themselves on the Earth right now."

    "Not that there are many high-level creatures who didn't get sealed. Anyway, its good for us, the Earth is a place only in the stories getting to come here is interesting."

    "Yeah, to bad we got sent to such a backwater part of it though. This part of the world isn't much concern to us."

    "Well, you know how it is. They don't trust us Shadow Demons all that much."

    "They should just get over it already! That Goddess died tens of thousands of years ago."

    "Yeah, I know. All the Shadow Demons know, but either way, we don't get along too well with most of the other demons. Which is probably the real reason why they still treat us like **...hey."

    I casually turn my head, "Hmm?"

    "What do you think this is?"

    Looking over, I see my longtime friend holding a jumbled mess of red strings. Pieces of tar drip from the strings and hit the ground with a thunk. I stare at the red strings noting that they seem to run in every direction at random, but something about them makes me feel...odd.

    "What...what are these?" I whisper.

    I reach out and touch the net only for a powerful feeling of nostalgia to assault my body. Suddenly the net begins to crumble away, leaving me feeling oddly empty. I pick up what little of the substance I can find and gaze at it with curious eyes.
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