Zone 0 had its own peculiarities that every zone had, but here, it bore concepts that Zacharie could almost be fond of. Zone 0 was modest, small. Nothing noteworthy in terms of habitable Zones and operations, and it was always guaranteed you would meet a white tom with fangs too large for its jaw striding about on its slender limbs; a cat, one with a deepened purr smoother than its coat, and a tongue without another suspected cat on the other end like the English language so fancied. Lamentably, the mentioned cat often criticized Zacharie for his behavior, but so was The Judge's way.
A powerful human, abnormally capable, in fact, a being like Zacharie himself, prowled the zone, though often in captivity with a meager diet of sweet, crystallized sugar burned from the bodies that could be quickly disposed of compared to the strands of hair on her head. This dainty, petite girl was confined for a purpose. The world frightened her, and it was only for the most suitable, and for the best of interest that the world was kept sheltered away from her. Her only way of coping was to absolve her anxieties, which meant eliminating the world itself if it so dismayed her.
Though Zacharie saw no reason to grow attached to any of this world's residents, he had to admit to himself that he, on some level, cared for the white tom, soft-spoken, with striking, peering, golden eyes, and for the girl with a light, whimsical laugh that bubbled from the tip of her lungs when terror carved a grin on her pale face.
The weather, or rather the climate, Zacharie long ago observed, remained the same as every other day in Zone 0. The peeling ochroid paint tessellated the walls and steps and every surface to be seen, each one illuminated by a red sun that cast a colorless expanse across the unbounded above, reflecting into the synthetic seas as a syrupy shimmering hue. The natural streams of meat in Alma of Zone 1 were much too dense to be swayed in tone or image, and the artificial brilliance was all these lands, and its occupants recognized. It was confounding, but Zacharie found solace in its consistency, one that he had to give immediate praise to.
This was not his world. He did not trouble himself with its deteriorating ambiance. It was under the rule of a queen that lost her sentience because of the disintegration of her originator. The world's sworn defenders did more harm than good due to the shift towards their inner turmoils and sins of seven. Zacharie always found it somewhat beguiling that the purifier would assemble the add-on outlining each fated guardian and were beaten to virtue and nothingness by the very rings that bind them to their promised faith. This, after all, was a realm of fragmented hopes, and it had died the instant it began to spark with life. Such was the way this was intended to be.
Speaking of scripts, Zacharie had someplace else to be, the text that was beyond him tugged him wherever he was required. It was utterly foretold. The game guided its puppets, and Zacharie did as he was demanded, a mere onlooker with investment in novels with headache-inducing puzzles for cute children, which he graciously contributed to with the minimal authority he was barely granted. But alas, he was still a puppet just like the rest, with written lines that directed recited conversation out from his larynx that disregarded his cognizance and the burn it generated within him when it shirked him mid-vowel and assailed his speech with additional commands.
It turned out that the game didn't drag him far. He remained encompassed by the golden shades of all four interior surfaces with hovering cubical articles to his far-right and the steady tempo of dripping, liquified plastic somewhere in this sanctuary. There he was — the purifier himself. He was abruptly pulled into the portion of the program where the puppeteer surveyed his wares, and the number of credits was knocked down as Zacharie flicked his tongue to recite the same lines, not nearly as quick as the selection of the puppeteer to the wares he requested. The suppressed merchant observed the purifier as he disappeared into one opening in the golden chamber within the bare partition Zacharie had a full view of.
Admittedly, Zacharie discerned nothing disturbing regarding the efforts of the game's pawns or their words. It was all repetitious, irrelevant. He found the overall atmosphere to be the height of interest when the world's fabrication wasn't playing out then. The purifier solely arrived to purge and cleanse, guided by the ciphers of their typical routine with the aid of the watchful guide above, and the puppeteer advanced upon the game in their mirthful way. The Elsen were not that remarkable either, save for that one particular Elsen in the Bismark library fretting about the library's security and the walls having ears. Zacharie found not the Elsen itself, but his ramblings, to be considerably diverting. It was something unconventional, at least, despite its unavoidable revolve.
Zacharie continued on his way, doing nothing at all while he expected the script's recommenced operation and actuate his role once further. It took quite an extensive period for him to be ordered once more, supposing that the purifier's latest position in Zone 0 hadn't been withdrawn from the flaxen region hitherto. If the former remained so, he'd pass the location where Zacharie was meant to be foreseen to the puppeteer's sights, though it wasn't until the prolonged period ended. It began to come as a shocking blow, one that could likely paralyze him, but the script required neither variation in composition or expression. But then the purifier informed him of a particular miss. The script, rather than the purifier or puppeteer themselves in any manner of foreseeable pity, held the burden the word placed upon them of the feeble girl in the cellar of Zone 0. His friend (this was everything she wholly meant to him), the one fated to endure her days in a dismal bunker amidst only the throng of favored Elsen remains and the waning silhouette of a curving swan on the dilapidated deck, yearned to declare her final farewell. This was only expected. The script foretold the decision. It was, perhaps, better that way.
Once the world was indeed purified, he would quietly vanish from the planet. He always knew, deep inside, it would ultimately desist entirely, and the script wouldn't oblige him. That's how it was. It was better like that. The game would transpire with its programmed narrative, and once it recounted its tale, the saga would be concluded, and in turn, the game would close. Each time, though, Zacharie was ordered back, the experience seeming a touch duller each perennial course, the sky above a tad paler, and the blaring tones of the tract emerged less alert. It mustn't have been the game's doing. It indicated nothing of importance; he insisted. He wasn't permitted to manifest a disposition of exhaust concerning the story, anyway. The script awaited contrarily, and even if he ventured toward deviation, the data just wouldn't exist.
In the finish's advent, neither Zacharie nor the other genuinely incisive individuals recognized whatever this cycle had implied. He queried the supervisor of Zone 0, the humble cat with quite the speech and silver tongue, but once again, Zacharie neglected to perceive precisely what he was defending by obeying the unseen ciphers.