Notes1: Now I've never read the manga outside of the first chapter, and to this day I'm still not sure what compelled me to watch it, but I more or less loathed the anime. There was way too much fanservice for my liking - almost enforced - and the worldbuilding, for what it was worth, had little to no foundations. In between trying to endure it and not clicking out of the tab and flinging my headset across the room in frustration, I managed to find at least two things that were able to redeem it to a somewhat decent capacity: Liese's character and Hijiri's purpose at the end of the season that didn't involve being a damsel in distress as it tried to portray her to be. So I wrote this thing, and while the Kurt Vonnegut influences kind of crept in there at the last minute, I would say this made for a smooth experience. I can only wish I could say the same for the archetypes that were in play for the main cast (and, as of this writing, No Game No Life isn't shaping up to be any better).

Robert Frost once said that the world could end in fire, but that it could also end in ice. He could have a taste of desire or know twice of hate, and it would not matter how it ended for either would suffice. Storms come and go, in dark thunder and bright glass. Some storms even ended in smoke and quiet, neither fire or ice or thunder or glass, and nothing but would remain. Either way, the world would end the same…and move on.

"So it goes," Liese says to the empty room. She stretches out on the floor, rolls her shoulders, and looks up past the ceiling. Everything is the same, dull, muddied brown-grey one would normally associate to war zones and post-apocalyptic fantasies, but here this fantasy is alive and frozen in time—captured in a single frame, a ghost of a time out of mind. Even the light that falls through the windows holds her shadow in its thrall, an empty cutout of a girl that can manage to fit into the jigsaw puzzle if the piece was trimmed to accommodation.

This place is not the passing whimsy of war zones and post-apocalyptic fantasies. She does not fit here. She cannot fit here, in this place of unmoving, unbending space where time is a miser and cannot enforce its dominion upon her. Not even the dust of decay can lay its hands on her.

This is a fitting hell, one tailored made for mages who knew too much and cared not for the consequences. This is a hell, reserved for little girls who trade their sister, their friends, and their school for knowledge—knowledge to climb the unattainable heights man strives for and…and claim it, for in the hand that holds it lies power, and power in any one hand, if it can be balanced and mastered, can make that person into a god. Or a devil.

"This is what you wanted," she says, quietly. "This is what you get." She chuckles, closes her eyes, and smiles. "You reap what you sow."

It would be nice to get out of here…but she had a job, a task bequeathed by Iscariot: stop the Trinity Seven and their demon lord candidate from coming into his own before he crossed the horizon and the world had to start all over again. Stopping them meant stopping Selina, and what was the point in keeping personal attachments close if she was on the opposing side? Evil mages are selfish creatures, wanting to fulfill the needs that would benefit only themselves. Power, wealth, lust, knowledge…none of that mattered if the ties weren't severed and bridges weren't burned.

And yet you still desired her company. You could not bear the ache of loneliness, knowing you would be separated again if the world should be restarted.

"I guess I wasn't so evil, after all," she says wistfully, and rests her head against the wall.

So it goes.